The U.S. Department of Justice, on Wednesday, announced that PHH Mortgage Corporation (PHH) has agreed to pay $750,000 to six servicemembers to resolve allegations that it violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by unlawfully foreclosing on their homes without obtaining the required court orders.
“Our men and women in uniform deserve to be able to focus on their job of keeping our country safe without worrying about losing their homes to an unlawful foreclosure,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting the rights of our servicemembers from unlawful conduct.”
Based on the department’s investigation, PHH was accused of having obtained the foreclosures between Jan. 1, 2010 and April 4, 2012. PHH had foreclosed on six homes of SCRA-protected servicemembers without having obtained the required court orders. The Justice Department stated that this violated the SCRA act which “prohibits lenders from seizing or foreclosing on the property of military personnel who are on active duty or recently completed it.”
The investigation was launched after having received a complaint in May 2016 through the Department’s Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative. The issue was handled jointly by the Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.
The agreement suit filed requires PHH to pay $125,000 to each servicemember whose home was unlawfully foreclosed upon. It also required PHH to provide training to its staff to ensure that servicemembers do not face unlawful foreclosures in the future.
New Jersey-based PHH is one of the United States’ largest mortgage loan servicers, operating nationwide. The company also originates, sells and subservices residential mortgage loans.
“This Office remains resolute in its commitment to honor their personal sacrifices when they do so by ensuring that servicemembers’ rights will be protected, as the law requires, whenever duty calls. This agreement ensures that servicemembers will be compensated for the damages they suffered when their homes were improperly foreclosed upon while they were serving our country,” said U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.