The Bank and the Typo that Ruined a Man’s Life

Here’s an “Um, what? No! Ugh” story I read this weekend that was published in LA Weekly last week. It’s about how Wells Fargo foreclosed on a man’s home because they had the wrong address on file:

In a series of painfully tragic events, Wells Fargo relied on its typographical error to double Delassus’ mortgage — from $1,237.69 to $2,429.13 — as its way of recouping the $13,361.90 in taxes Delassus didn’t owe. Delassus, a retiree living on a $1,655 check, couldn’t meet the mysteriously increased mortgage. He stopped paying, and soon was far behind on his mortgage.

Delassus and his attorney did not discover until May 2010 that a mis-entered number had dragged Delassus into this spiral. As court documents obtained by L.A. Weekly show, after admitting its error, Wells Fargo foreclosed on Delassus anyway and sold his condo.

Delassus had to move to a tiny apartment in an assisted-living home in Carson.

The most tragic part of this story is mentioned in the very first sentence: “On the morning of Dec. 19, 2012, in a Torrance courtroom, Larry Delassus’ heart stopped as he watched his attorney argue his negligence and discrimination case against banking behemoth Wells Fargo.” The coroner said Delassus died from heart disease, but friends say the system killed him.

Photo: Estal

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