KINGWOOD - A Preston County couple is suing over claims that they fell victim to predatory lending practices.

Richard Charles Williams and Sheila Coleman Castells filed a lawsuit July 31 in the Circuit Court of Preston County against Aurora Loan Services LLC and Nationstar Mortgage LLC, citing illegal loan and illegal debt collection.

The plaintiffs say that in spring 2006, they purchased a home in Eglon. According to the complaint, at that time the lender and broker allegedly obtained a false appraisal value of the home in excess of $199,000 when the actual market value was $175,000.

After purchasing the home, the plaintiffs closed a piggy back loan totaling $195,000, which was soon after assigned to Aurora, according to the complaint. The plaintiffs say that in the fall of 2006, Richard Williams was deployed to Afghanistan and the plaintiffs began to struggle with mortgage payments.

In August of 2008 Aurora provided a loan modification, which increased the indebtedness on the first mortgage $10,000. On April 5, 2011, Aurora foreclosed on the property and purchased it at a foreclosure sale.

The complaint alleges that on May 5, 2011, at around 11 p.m. two men came to the plaintiffs' home, presented a badge and said they were there on behalf of the lender. According to the complaint, one man was a police officer using his authority to intimidate the plaintiffs in an attempt to collect a debt.

On June 14, 2011, the plaintiffs first became aware that the actual value of the home in 2006 was $175,000, according to the brief.

The plaintiffs are seeking an undisclosed amount of damages and costs and a fine of $4,400 for each violation. They are being represented in the case by Charleston attorneys Bren J. Pomponio and Daniel T. Lattanzi of Mountain State Justice Inc.

Circuit Court of Preston County Case No. 13-C-168.

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