Troubleshooter: Foreclosure heartache

ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson

February 25, 2011 2:47:38 PM PST
A promise to save a home from foreclosure turned into months of heartache for one Roxboro family.Patrick Deshazo says his family fell on hard times and got behind on their mortgage on their Roxboro home.

"This home has been in our family for 50 plus years, so it's like an heirloom to us," Deshazo said. "It has a lot of value. It's not just a house that's on the market for sale."

He says they were desperately looking for help when they found American Home Relief Foundation.

"They promised that they would definitely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, be able to save our home, if we would just send in $2,000," Deshazo said.

He says the money was hard to scrap together, but they did it with the hope of saving their home.

"Once we sent in the $2,000 they sent us notebooks with paperwork, everything looked completely legit," Deshazo said. "They promised after we sent in those different records step by step that it would be working toward saving our home."

A few months went by and the Deshazo's say they heard nothing, until they say they got an unexpected visitor from their mortgage company to change the locks - telling them their house would be sold under foreclosure.

Deshazo says they called American Home Relief right away.

"They then told us not to worry about anything, that they would contact our mortgage company," he said.

But when Deshazo contacted his mortgage company, he heard different news.

"They told us that American Relief Foundation had never contacted them, they had never heard anything from them," he said. "Nobody had been working on our behalf to help save our home."

Deshazo said his family was devastated as not only are they out their $2,000 they paid American Home Relief Foundation, but in jeopardy of losing their home.

"They have brought a lot of heartache and a lot of suffering to our family," he said. "To have that hope that you're going to keep something, and then to have it taken away is just kind of outrageous."

The types of fees like Deshazo paid upfront are now illegal. Under new federal regulations, it's illegal for foreclosure assistance and loan modification companies to collect fees up front.

Late last year, the North Carolina attorneys general office ordered American Home Relief Foundation to stop doing business in the state.

As for the Deshazo family, they found a way to save their home on their own. But they don't want others to go through the kind of stress they did when they turned to American Home Relief Foundation for help.

"I want to see these people shut down, put out of business, because these people have brought a lot of heartache," Deshazo said. "We know that the economy is bad, we know that people are losing houses every day, but be careful who you try to get to help you, because they are not always on your side." ABC11 reached out to American Home Relief. Despite repeated messages and e-mails, no one ever responded.

There are all kinds of companies out there offering similar types of assistance.

To learn more about foreclosure help in North Carolina, visit the North Carolina Department of Justice's web site at

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