Articles

The Hill : Government-sponsored home equity theft robs the elderly and poor of millions of dollars

December 05, 2022 | By CHRISTINA MARTIN

If you owe someone $14, should they be entitled to take a $100 bill out of your wallet and keep the change? Obviously not. Yet in a dozen states and the nation’s capital, the government collects delinquent real estate taxes that way. Take, for example, 93-year-old Geraldine Tyler. When she failed to pay approximately $2,300 … ...

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Michigan officials steal families’ homes to pad their budgets

October 21, 2022 | By CHRISTINA MARTIN

Greed: an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power   The house on Diamond Lake was estimated to be worth between $3 million and $4 million. It was nestled on the shore with other multimillion-dollar houses in the postcard-perfect Michigan setting. “Diamond is a very appropriate name for this beautiful lake,R ...

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The Hill : How government encourages property theft in Massachusetts — and homeowners are fighting back

August 29, 2022 | By CHRISTINA MARTIN

The first time Mark Mucciaccio of South Easton, Mass., remembers hearing of Tallage Lincoln LLC was when he learned the real estate investment company had taken his longtime family home out from under him. … ...

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The Hill : Massachusetts grandmother lost her savings to tax foreclosure law

May 09, 2022 | By CHRISTINA MARTIN

When Deborah Foss, a 66-year-old grandmother in New Bedford, Mass., bought her home in 2015, she expected it would be where she would live the rest of her life in comfort and security. But by February of this year, she had been forced from her home and is now reduced to living in her car. … ...

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The Detroit News : A reminder to counties

August 10, 2021 | By CHRISTINA MARTIN

A just government cannot oppress the poor or exploit relatively small mistakes to seize lifesavings at their residents’ expense. And yet, Michigan counties are fighting in courts across the state to do just that. After the Michigan Supreme Court ruled last year that counties violated property owners’ rights by keeping surplus funds from ...

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Great news : North Dakota ends home equity theft

May 07, 2021 | By CHRISTINA MARTIN

Co-authored with Michael Fedorchak, the state director for AFP North Dakota. There is cause for celebration in North Dakota, as it joins the growing list of states that forbid home equity theft. Until recently, local North Dakota officials could seize and sell valuable properties when the owners fall behind on property tax payments and then … ...

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Daily Journal : U.S. Supreme Court asked to protect property-tax debtors’ right to notice warning of equity theft

February 18, 2021 | By CHRISTINA MARTIN

To collect $1,200 plus interest, a Nebraska county took Walter Barnette’s land worth $25,000 and gave it to an investor. Walter didn’t get a penny of his equity in the land, and he had no idea he was in danger of losing it. According to Nebraska’s property tax law, this was perfectly legal. Given the extreme consequences, ...

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Jurist : Tax lien foreclosures in Massachusetts or legalized home theft

February 05, 2021 | By CHRISTINA MARTIN

In some states, missing a tax payment could cost you your home. That’s exactly what happened to one family from Easton, Massachusetts. Although brothers Neil and Mark Mucciaccio owned their house outright, they struggled to keep up with rising property taxes when their family experienced several medical and financial hardships. When the broth ...

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The Supreme Court could end home equity theft this upcoming term

October 27, 2020 | By CHRISTINA MARTIN

If you are late on your property taxes, can the government take more than you owe in taxes, penalties, interest, and costs? PLF filed a petition on behalf of Elliot Feltner, asking the U.S Supreme Court to answer that important question. If granted, the Court could end predatory tax foreclosures that allow the government to take a windfal ...