JP Morgan Chase, A Lesson in How to Steal Cheat and Harass a Grieving Family

                In January 2012 when Bergen County resident Jason Maita passed away unexpectedly, his surviving family was in mourning.  The family was left to wind up the estate of a man who was only in his mid thirties when the end arrived.  In the final year of Jason’s life he was met with a great struggle of another kind, Jason was facing foreclosure.

Jason had taken out a loan in 2003 and gave a mortgage to now defunct Washington Mutual.  When the economy turned in 2008 Jason was like so many other Americans and had a significant drop in income that caused him to default on his mortgage.  A common occurrence among homeowners, Jason was then sued not by the company with whom he obtained his loan and gave a mortgage.  Instead, it was the too big to fail bank JP Morgan Chase who sued to take Jason’s home.

After being sued, Jason retained the law firm of Denbeaux & Denbeaux in Westwood New Jersey to defend his home against foreclosure.  There were significant problems with JP Morgan Chase’s case against Jason and his home.  The biggest of which were that the bank could not prove it owned the promissory note and mortgage necessary to foreclose on the home.  In July, 2011 the foreclosure was dismissed, Jason could remain in his home.

After Jason’s untimely death, JP Morgan approached the estate of Jason Maita to see if the family would voluntarily transfer the home to the bank in exchange for $34,500.  The process is what’s called a “deed in lieu of foreclosure.”  Jason’s survivors again met with Denbeaux & Denbeaux and determined that the offer made sense.  They did not have a meaningful use for the home and understood that the home was now under water, meaning that more money was owed on the home than could be obtained if the family sold the home on the open market.  Jason’s survivors agreed and signed the contract offered by JP Morgan in March 2012.

Time had then passed and JP Morgan  Chase still had not finalized the deed in lieu.  Jason’s family spent their weekends at Jason’s home, going through his personal effects, separating the belongings categorically into items to be sold, items to be kept, and garbage.  The work was both time consuming and emotional.

One day in May, Jason’s father went to the home and was distraught to find that the locks to the home and shed out back had been changed.  There was a note taped to the window from the inside of the home, stating that JP Morgan Chase now controlled the home.  The bank had lost its foreclosure action, there was no final approval of the deed in lieu, Jason’s family had not received the promised $34,500 and no date had been agreed to for the transfer of the home.

With the assistance of Denbeaux & Denbeaux, Jason’s family was able to regain entry to the home.  JP Morgan Chase apologized and blamed the error on an internal miscommunication.  They assured the family through its lawyers that no property had been removed from the home, and that the deed in lieu will be going forward as promised.  Despite feeling angry and violated by the unlawful trespass, Jason’s family remained committed to the deal to transfer the home for $34,500.  It was time to close this painful chapter and move on.

On June 6, 2012 JP Morgan Chase finally issued the official Deed in Lieu contract formalizing the deal to transfer title of the home to the bank.  Excited at the prospect of Jason’s family being able to move beyond the stress of losing their son, and having his home broken into, the attorneys of Denbeaux & Denbeaux eagerly reviewed the contract.  “I was absolutely stunned by the terms of the final offer, JP Morgan Chase completely abandoned their promise to Jason’s family.” Said attorney Adam Deutsch.

JP Morgan Chase was no longer offering the agreed to $34,500, now they were going to give Jason’s family $1 for title to the home.  “JP Morgan Chase has been in the news an awful lot lately.  The week they announced losing billions of shareholder dollars was the same week they wrongfully broke into Jason’s home and changed the locks.  To have lost a foreclosure action, abandoned a contractual obligation to pay $34,500 and to have trespassed into a home can only be described as chutzpah” added Mr. Deutsch.

Immediately, Denbeaux & Denbeaux contacted the attorneys representing JP Morgan Chase Bank.  Correspondence explained that surely the offer of $1 must be an error.  The Maita family remains committed to the original deal offered by the bank and is not seeking additional funds at this time, despite the additional pains they have undergone as a result of JP Morgan Chases actions.  At the time of publication, JP Morgan Chase has not responded to the Denbeaux firm and the matter remains without resolution.