On January 29, 2009, Larry Delassus received a letter from Wells Fargo demanding that he pay them $13,361.90 in order to prevent his mortgage from going under as he had fallen behind on his property tax payments. Confused by the message – as he was he was ahead of his payments by six months – Delassus and his attorney, Anthony Trujillo, made numerous attempts to contact the bank about this discrepancy; but each effort was deterred by classic mega-lender tactics.
As a result, Delassus, a disabled retiree living off of a $1,655 check, was unable to afford his monthly mortgage payments, which Wells Fargo had doubled from $1,236.69 to $2,429.13 in order to recover the $13,361 which they claimed he owed.
It wasn’t until May of 2010 that Delassus and Trujillo discovered the root of this problem. Wells Fargo had mistyped the parcel number on documents, mistaking Delassus for one of his neighbors.
In September of 2010, Wells Fargo finally admitted to the mistake, but the damage had already been done. Being so far behind on the wrongfully increased mortgage payments, the bank refused to allow Delassus to resume his original payments of $1,236.69, requiring that he first pay a reinstatement fee which was never disclosed with Delassus or his attorney. Throughout the next few months, both Delassus and Trujillo made several attempts to contact Wells Fargo about the reinstatement fee, but were left with no answers.
It wasn’t until January 25, 2011 that Wells Fargo contacted Delassus stating that they wanted a payoff of $337,250.40, the total cost of the property, due the following day. Facing the almost impossible task at hand, Delassus and his attorney decided they had no choice but to sue Wells Fargo for negligence and discrimination against a disabled person.
Several months later, after returning from the hospital due to illness, Delassus discovered that his condo had been sold by Wells Fargo, forcing him to leave his home of 16 years. Over the next year and a half the lawsuit continued as Delassus was determined to be reunited with his home once again even as his health deteriorated.
Confident that the truth would prevail, he entered the Torrance Superior Courtroom on the morning of December 19, 2012, three years into his struggle. While listening to Trujillo argue his case, Delassus slumped over in his wheelchair and passed away from heart failure.
Although Larry Delassus has passed on, his message and struggle continue to this day. In the time since his passing, friends, family, and sympathizers of Delassus have come together to sue Wells Fargo for wrongful death, claiming that the stress of his battle influenced Delassus’s untimely death.
As time has passed, more victims have begun to emerge and many critics have vowed to end business with Wells Fargo, all in hopes to prevent future incidents like this from occurring.
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