Wyoming Co. couple accuse CitiMortgage of predatory lending

By Whitney Brakken | Dec 18, 2013

PINEVILLE - An Oceana couple are suing over claims they were subjected to predatory lending.

Warren B. Cook and Ruth L. Cook filed a lawsuit on Dec. 6 in the Circuit Court of Wyoming County against CitiMortgage Inc., doing business as ABN-AMRO Mortgage Group Inc., and William Whitehair, citing unconscionable inducement, fraud, joint venture, illegal return of payments, illegal debt collection, negligence and breach of professional standards.

The Cooks say they were victims of predatory lending in February 2002 when they were solicited to refinance their home loan.

The complaint states Whitehair inflated the appraisal value of the plaintiffs' home and appraised the home for $97,500 when the true market value was $45,000.

The complaint alleges the Cooks then entered into the loan based upon the inflated appraisal and were not informed ABN-AMRO was receiving a kickback for persuading the plaintiffs to accept a higher interest rate. In December 2009, the plaintiffs contacted CitiMortgage for hardship assistance and despite demonstrating an ability and willingness to pay, the assistance was denied and payments were returned, according to the complaint.

Warren and Ruth Cook are seeking a declaration the loan was induced by unconscionable conduct, is void and unenforceable and the appraiser engaged in unlawful conduct, actual damages, statutory damages, punitive damages, costs and fees. They are being represented by Bren J. Pomponio and Daniel F. Hedges of Mountain State Justice Inc.

Circuit Court of Wyoming County Civil Action No. 13-C-191

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