McGraw

CHARLESTON -- Attorney General Darrell McGraw's office has begun contacting more than 5,000 borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure who might be eligible for payment under the $25 billion national mortgage foreclosure settlement.

His office said it is sending claim forms to about 5,222 West Virginia borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011.

Those eligible would have had mortgages serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Those are the providers in the settlement with the federal government and attorneys general for 49 states and the District of Columbia.

The settlement set aside $3.6 million for West Virginia borrowers. The exact payment will depend upon the total number of borrowers who decide to participate.

"This payment is intended as partial compensation for the mortgage servicers' illegal conduct and servicing abuse," McGraw said in a press release. "By participating, borrowers do not give up any legal rights. They're free to participate in this settlement and also pursue other legal remedies such as filing a lawsuit or participating in a class action, if they so choose."

McGraw's office said the forms must be returned by Jan. 18. The forms are being mailed by Rust Consulting, the national settlement administrator. The packets include a letter from McGraw, the claim form, instructions and answers to frequently asked questions.

The claim forms also can be filed online at www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com. The deadline for all claims is Jan. 18. Payment checks are expected to be mailed in mid-2013.

If someone needs assistance filing the one-page claim forms, they can call 1-866-430-8358 or send questions by email to administrator@nationalmortgagesettlement.com.

McGraw's press release also said eligible borrowers do not need to prove financial harm to receive a payment, nor do they give up their rights to pursue a lawsuit against their mortgage servicer or to participate in the Independent Foreclosure Review Process being conducted by federal bank regulators. More information about that program is available at www.independentforclosurereview.com.

The release also said eligible borrowers may get a payment from this settlement even if they participate in another foreclosure claims process. However, any payment received may reduce payments borrowers may be eligible to receive in any other foreclosure claim process or legal proceeding.

Borrowers who believe they may qualify for a payment but did not receive a notice because they have moved should contact the settlement administrator to provide that information and receive a claim form.

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