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February 18, 2009

Former Marine facing foreclosure, but do you really want to bail him out?

Posted: 06:38 PM ET

pv_16959_00471Jeff Gray is a nice guy.  He's a 45 year old father of three, a husband to a school teacher and a former Marine.  He is also self-admittedly financially inept and very-near being kicked out of his suburban Maryland home.  He is literally begging for help not to be foreclosed on.  But when you hear his short financial history,  you may come to the same conclusion that J.P. Morgan Chase has come to: Jeff Gray can not keep his home.

I sat in his living room a few weeks back and went through his mortgage papers and could not believe what I was reading.  In 2005,  Jeff Gray filed a tax return indicating he and his wife had a combined income of $7,900 a year.  In December of that same year the couple refinanced their three bedroom home for $347,000.  It would take four months of his salary to pay for just one month of his mortgage.

When I asked him how anyone ever approved this loan,   he told me to look at the loan papers that he says were filled out by a fast talking mortgage broker.  The loan form indicated Jeff and his wife were making more than $13,000 a month!

"Wait a minute",  jeff1I said  "Your income was 7-thousand-900 a year and they inflated it on the paperwork to $13,000-a-month, and somehow they loaned you 347 thousand?"
"Yep."
"Jeff,  I have to ask you did that make sense to you at the time?"
"Well Drew,  when I went back and looked at it,  like I said we were signing deeds we were getting them real fast,  and we didn't know.  We didn't pay any attention to it."
Jeff Gray has not made a mortgage payment, he says, in four years.  He has been living rent free, unable to pay that $2,700-a-month for even one month. Now he wants help.
There are a lot of reasons we have gotten into this housing mess.  Whomever it was who wrote this loan, approved this loan and sold this loan should, in my view, be held responsible for it.  But that also includes the person who applied for the loan, signed for the loan and then couldn't pay the loan.
Jeff Gray told me he feels he was swindled, caught up in a swirl of paper work flying at him at closing.  And it is true he is being kicked out while the banks are being bailed out. But there is no fine print about the loan papers I saw. They clearly stated his first mortgage payment would be $2,700 dollars and he knew he couldn't afford it.

Filed under: Drew Griffin • Uncategorized


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KC   February 28th, 2009 3:24 pm ET

This guy is poster child for the type of irresponsble behavior that led to the mortgage meltdown and subsequent financial markets crisis. He never should have received the mortgage because he LIED on his paperwork. I just watched the report on CNN, and he initialed and signed the paperwork certifying his family's income. He deserves to live on the street. Liar.


Glen Wooldridge   February 28th, 2009 3:25 pm ET

If this person gets help, the system has failed.Why should the tax papers bail out this family that has lived free for four years. We all need to l be responsible. Again, do not give this family a free ride, or we all should get a free ride.


Kristine   February 28th, 2009 4:26 pm ET

Since this fellow's mortgage under the original loan more than likely exceeded his income stated on his taxes for 2005, I suspect the IRS would be interested in seeing his loan paperwork detail about his income since he surely filed "stated income". Wonder what taxes he owes, too?

I'm supposed to bail out someone who got $150,000 cash out of a $200,000 home and has lived in it FREE for four years? He needs to leave. I wouldn't blink if you told me he was also being prosecuted for fraud.

The bank is paying for its responsibility in this debacle by taking the $150,000 loss, or at least it should be.


Dallas Texas   February 28th, 2009 7:50 pm ET

I am a single teacher and recently purchased my first house. As far as I am concerned, this man is a liar. He claims that he was overwhelmed by all of the paperwork coming at him. Bottom line, though, is that he KNEW how much money he was borrowing. The fact that his wife is also a teacher tells me that at least one person in their family has a brain. Where was she when all of these papers were being signed? Why wasn't she asking important questions like "How much will our monthly payment be?" And "How in the heck are we going to afford that?!" These people have sat down and signed home loan paperwork at least twice (once for the initial purchase and once for the refinance). I understand that people encounter hard times, but we are responsible for our own actions. They lived in this house for FOUR years without making a single payment. And not only that, but the $350,000 that they borrowed was supposedly spent on credit card debt that incurred, AND they supposedly don't know where the rest of it went. And even though they had $350,000 of the bank's money, then still did not make one single payment. They should've been out in the cold about 3 1/2 years ago. I feel sorry for the kids, but that's where my sympathy stops. I cannot fathom how they could've burned through that kind of money, nor how they could have made less than $10,000 in a year (watch the video interview). Teachers are underpaid, but we definitely make more than $10,000 a year. Heck, I almost made that much working part-time in high school. Jeff Gray needs to man up and get a job or two and provide for his family. I'm surprised his wife hasn't left him. And shame on both of them for having the nerve to beg the public for help when they haven't even ATTEMPTED to pay a single payment of their mortgage. What a joke!


PT   March 6th, 2009 7:39 am ET

Lying on the papers and claiming "I didn't know what I was signing" sounds a lot like "Gee I didn't know that was illegal" as a defense. It's really simple....read it before you sign it and if someone rushes you through it, all the more reason to read it twice! I'd like to know if this former marine was on active duty when he bought the house; if he was active, how much was he getting in his housing stipend. If you live on base, the military pays the stipend to the management company overseeing base housing, but if you live off base, the stipend is paid to the soldier to use as he or she sees fit. Any way you slice it, someone else was going to pay for this man's housing.


L. Russell   March 7th, 2009 6:44 pm ET

I am all for waiting to see what President Obama's plan on foreclosures is going to do but, I am concerned that we are starting at the wrong place. Why start with new buyers when we already have home owners in trouble who have done the right thing but, got caught in adjustable mortgages. If you say first time buyers, that opens it up for people to go out and purchase and now fair well that this is not the time to purchase. They should wait until the economy is more stable.

I am not in trouble of foreclosure although I do know some people who have lost their jobs and it my happen to them. However, I am one that is now paying more for a morgage then my home is worth at this point.

I feel that everyone, including myself should pay for the amount our is worth at this time.

Giving people behind in their mortgage who had a good paying record three months free of mortage tacking it at the end would really help a lot of people. (Responsible people)


L. Russell   March 7th, 2009 6:58 pm ET

I don't care how fast talking the person was who did the paper work for Jeff. When he went over the bottom line stating how much the monthly mortgage payment would be (hello !) he or his wife saw the amount and knew that could not afford it.

Didn't you say school teacher? Living a lie just caught up with them.

I feel bad but, if I did something like that I am certain that would not get a bail out.

President Obama made it clear about helping people like Jeff who were irresponsible.

I am thankful to him for serving our country but, people cannot keep using that as a get out of jail free card.


Kristine   April 11th, 2009 9:04 pm ET

L. Russell, you feel that you should only be paying for what your house is worth right now? You invested in a house at X price – your choice. Adjustable rate mortgage? Also your choice. If the home goes down in value, someone else should suffer the consequences? When the house goes up in value, shouldn't that same someone also reap the benefit?

What you should be doing is RENTING. If you don't want any risk, you shouldn't get any potential reward, either.

I don't imagine you were thinking that when the value went up these last several years that your profit should go to someone else...


cooper   May 17th, 2009 1:47 am ET

I agree that the borrower should bear a huge part of the blame, however the real estate agencies/brokers should bear a huge part also, because oftentimes the real estate agencies/brokers know the borrower cannot afford the mortgage but "juice" the paperwork so that it appeal to the banks–why? Because the real estate agency/brokers recieve a nice COMMISSION for doing this. Here's the capper THE BORROWER GOES INTO FORECLOSURE,THE BANK GOES OUT OF BUSINESS, BUT WHAT HAPPENS TO THE REAL ESTATE AGENCY/BROKER THAT "JUICED" THE PAPERWORK IN THE FIRST PLACE...NOTHING.


mike   February 4th, 2010 11:14 pm ET

This is such a great post, thanks for the great info. and I am so excited to read more


Short Sale Agent   March 25th, 2010 9:27 am ET

This is a sad story. We've seen this plenty of times here locally dealing with Atlanta Short Sales. It's upsetting to me especially when it affects our service men and women who are fighting for our liberties. We had one family where the wife was dealing with a foreclosure while the husband was stationed in Iraq. The bank ultimately let them do a short sale, but it was very hard on them, you could see it on their faces.


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