Widow Scammed Out Of $5,000 Nearly Lost Home

Statement From Wells Fargo Bank

“We are currently working with Ms. Minshall in the hope of identifying an option that will help her remain in her home. Right now, we are awaiting receipt of some additional documents that will help us to complete the review process. Unfortunately, as some homeowners struggle financially or look for ways to reduce their monthly mortgage payment, there are fraudsters who will use a variety of tactics to prey upon these consumers. As a rule of thumb, we advise consumers to work directly with their mortgage lender or a HUD-approved housing counselor directly when seeking a refinance or other type of assistance.”

Angie Kaipust
Wells Fargo Regional Banking Communications

An Omaha widow thought she had found a financial lifeline in the form of a mortgage refinancing company backed by the government. At least that's what it seemed. The woman's trust turned to tears when foreclosure papers came her way.

When her husband Bud died, Cecelia Minshall lost her ability to live in the home they shared for 30 years. “Couldn't make the payments without him. His Social Security kept us going.”

Cecelia turned to a refinancing program that promised to reduce her mortgage payments. “It's all set up to look like it’s government, but it's not.”

She didn't realize she had been misled until after paying monthly fees totaling $5,000 to Financial Services Center. “I gave this company my mortgage money and they never sent it in to the mortgage company, so now I'm in danger of losing my home.”

The Better Business Bureau gives Financial Services Center of Corona, California an “F” rating with 66 complaints, a lot like Cecelia's. “These people who think they were involved with a legitimate firm are finding out their homes are being foreclosed on, so it’s frightening and this is happening pretty consistently,” says the BBB’s Jim Hegarty.

Though receiving a foreclosure notice, Cecelia is working with her bank. She says her husband was a big fan of WWE and the Wrestling Federation sent him a T-shirt saying “Never Give Up” and a sign that was posted in his hospital room after he was diagnosed with a fatal disease. Though her husband passed away, Cecelia hasn't lost his spirit. “I'm not going to give up. I'm going to keep fighting.”

The phone number for the Financial Services Center in California connects to a voice mail. Fact Finders called and it is full. Good news though from Wells Fargo. The bank is working on a plan to help keep Cecelia in her home.

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