Louisville woman gets foreclosure reprieve after reverse mortgage scam

Joy Joines asked for a miracle. "I did and I got it," she said. "I thank God for it."
Joy Joines asked for a miracle. "I did and I got it," she said. "I thank God for it."

LOUISVILLE (WATE) – A Louisville widow asked for a miracle to save her home from foreclosure after she became the victim of a Ponzi scheme. Now, Joy Joines’ prayers have been answered thanks to quick intervention and political influence.

As 6 On Your Side previously reported, the foreclosure on Joy’s lakeside home was scheduled for Thursday.

For months, Joy’s attorney pleaded with PNC Mortgage to postpone the August 16 foreclosure. But there was no answer until Sen. Bob Corker’s office and Legal Aid of East Tennessee stepped in.

The home Joy has lived in for 25 years will stay in her possession, at least for another month. “It’s fantastic,” she said. “It’s better than good. The foreclosure was postponed.”

In late July, headlines announced the government had seized millions in a fraud investigation. The accused is Joyce Allen, who operated a Louisville accounting office out of her home, and an associate. They allegedly participated in a money laundering scheme.

The sophisticated scam was linked to Benchmark Capital, which once operated in a building in North Knoxville.

She calls her home her "piece of paradise."
She calls her home her “piece of paradise.”

In 2005, Joy and her late husband, Kenneth, took out what they believed to be a reserve mortgage through Benchmark and Joyce Allen.

This spring, Joy received a letter from PNC Mortgage saying she was behind in her mortgage payments.

Joy never had a reverse mortgage. “It wasn’t even an annuity,” she said.

Even though she received $500 a month from Joyce Allen, it came from the sale of her home, not a reverse mortgage.

When Legal Aid of East Tennessee heard about Joy’s predicament about 10 days ago, Ava Stamper got involved. She’s a certified foreclosure intervention specialist, not an attorney.

Stamper worked with attorneys to secure a 30-day reprieve for Joy after she got the original closing papers from the court and handed them over to Legal Aid.

“There was fraud in the origination of the loan and then the subsequent assignment of the loan purportedly to PNC which does not in fact own the mortgage,” Stamper said.

Instead, it’s Freddie Mac that owns the loan.

I asked Stamper, “What did your office do to delay foreclosure that Joy’s attorney couldn’t accomplish?”

“I believe PNC had a change of heart because given the fact that we now turned information over to Freddie Mac and the attorney general’s office, this gave them pause,” Stamper said. “They need to back off.”

Sen. Corker’s office in Knoxville and in Washington also got involved to delay the foreclosure.

Now Stamper and Legal Aid attorneys are preparing a lawsuit to permanently stop the foreclosure.

Joy asked for a miracle. “I did and I got it,” she said. “I thank God for it.”

Legal Aid of East Tennessee urges any homeowner who is in default or foreclosure not to wait until the last minute. It has resources to help save people’s homes.

To contact Legal Aid, call 865-637-0484. If you live outside your local Legal Aid’s jurisdiction, you’ll be directed to the office in your area.

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