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A Second Look at Strategic Mortgage Defaulters

In anticipation of Tuesday’s rerun of our report on strategic mortgage defaults, producer Lee Koromvokis checked back in with the characters we interviewed back in April for the story.

Fort Myers restaurant manager Josh Bartlett is still “squatting” in the condo he bought in 2005 for $210,000. “The interview could have been done yesterday,” he told us. He hasn’t made any payments on the property, now worth $45,000, since our interview.

Bartlett has begun to believe there may be a reason his lender hasn’t been after him. “I have come to think that there was something seriously wrong with my original Countrywide loan, maybe fraudulent,” he said. “Nobody wants this to come to light … so I’m continuing to ride it out and whatever happens, happens.” Of course there’s no evidence that Bartlett’s loan is fraudulent, but his frustrations reflect other stories of mortgage mishaps.

Fellow defaulter, golf pro Jason Welsh, said his situation is also the same. “After our interview, we received an offer for $115,000 (we had listed it for $119,000) but we are still bickering with Bank of America, which refuses to accept the short sale. Meanwhile, we are still living in the house, not making any payments, ready to move out as soon as the short sale is resolved.”

No word yet from realtor Kevin Jarrett, who was facing foreclosure on his fourth house at the time of our interview last spring. If we do hear back from him, we’ll post his update here.

As always you can ask your questions on business and the economy over on the Business Desk.

For the record, Bank of America is a NewsHour underwriter.

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