WASHINGTON - Several major banks are freezing thousands of foreclosures to review whether mishandled paperwork led some Americans to be wrongly forced from their homes.
Millions of Americans have faced foreclosure since the mortgage crisis began. Sonya Gilkey is one of them who is now fighting in court to keep her home.
"I feel like I'm lobbying for a whole lot of people out there who just did not have the energy or fortitude to holler and scream loud enough for someone to hear you," she said about her case.
Suspicion began when mortgage bank employees admitted to approving foreclosures without reading the paperwork. A GMAC executive even admitted to signing blindly 10,000 foreclosure documents in a month.
"He was not reading them before he signed them, and he didn't really have any knowledge of what their contents were," Gilkey's attorney Thomas Cox said.
Louis Fernandez is one of the homeowners caught up in the paperwork nightmare.
"There's something very, very sneaky behind all this," he said.
Fernandez started falling behind in his payments in 2007 after suffering a heart attack.
"They never answered me. They never called me. They never got in touch with me," he recalled.
Now, at least three major lenders have put a freeze on foreclosures to determine whether the foreclosure process was rushed for thousands of homeowners.
Bank of America has delayed foreclosures in 23 states and GMAC and J.P. Morgan Chase have halted tens of thousands of cases.
"To untangle the nightmare... could take years," Cox said.
At least six states have launched their own investigations into the foreclosures. The Florida Attorney General's office is investigating four law firms for allegedly providing phony documents in foreclosure cases.