A woman who claims she was the victim of a predatory lending scheme is suing a California-based corporation with the help of a Chicago law school clinic.
Alice Mae Polk filed a lawsuit Oct. 1 in the Cook County Circuit Court against Liberty Home Equity Solutions Inc., formerly known as Genworth Financial Home Equity Access Inc. and Liberty Reverse Mortgage Inc., alleging violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act.
According to the complaint, Polk paid off a 30-year purchase mortgage loan in 1997 and has resided continuously at her residence on West Gladys Avenue in Chicago for 47 years. In 2009, however, the suit alleges the defendant sold Polk a predatory reverse mortgage loan that the broker claimed would help finance repairs on the property.
Only a small portion of the loan was provided to Polk, and the work done on the property was shoddy and overpriced, as is common with these types of loans, according to the suit that further notes Polk did not receive independent pre-closing counseling as required and the closing took place at the property, not a bank or office.
Polk claims Liberty initiated foreclosure on her property on Sept. 13, 2012 for failing to maintain hazard insurance, and the final order of possession was entered Aug. 21, 2013.
Polk is seeking a judgment declaring the loan null and void, a stay of the eviction order and an award of damages. She is being represented in the case by attorney R. Dennis Smith of The John Marshall Law School Pro Bono Program and Clinic in Chicago.
According to the suit, the law school clinic got involved in Polk's case after being made aware of her situation by concerned neighbors and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved counselors.
Cook County Circuit Court case number: 14CH15832
This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in the Cook County Circuit Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it only represents one side of the story.