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A Pox on Their House: B of A Seizes Customer's Home, Parrot

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on March 10, 2010 2:09 PM

Among the many wrongs the large banks have inflicted on the American public in the last two years, please add to the list: financial crises and parrot-napping. That is not a typo, a Hampton, Pennsylvania woman has sued Bank of America for wrongfully foreclosing on her home, damaging the contents and holding her pet parrot captive.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Angela M. Iannelli filed her suit Monday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. The suit alleges that despite her monthly mortgage payments, B of A mistakenly believed her home to be in foreclosure. According to the suit, the bank instructed their contractor, Snyder Property Services, to "enter, seize, padlock, 'winterize' and take possession" of Ms. Iannelli's house, cutting water lines and electrical wiring, pouring anti-freeze down her drains and "stealing" her pet parrot, Luke. The plaintiff returned home from work one day to find the locks changed (no report on how she managed to get in), furniture and carpets damaged, the house a mess, the parrot: gone.

According to the Post-Gazette report, when Ms. Iannelli contacted B of A, she claims they denied knowledge of the "invasion" and of the whereabouts of Luke. She repeatedly tried to get help and was told they were "tired of hearing from her." Finally, a week later, the bank acknowledged they had made a small mistake. They were even kind enough to inform Ms. Iannelli that they did know where Luke the parrot was to be found after all, in the town of Ebensburg, a three hour round trip away.

On the off chance you are not yet thinking of switching banks, consider that Ms. Iannelli's attorney tells the Post-Gazette that with the exception of a single payment, all of his client's mortgage payments had been made, and on time. Bank of America did not send his client a notice of a 60-day deficiency nor had they given her 30 days to fix it, as state law requires, Michael Rosenzweig said. The bank did not offer any money to repair the damage to Iannelli's home until after she retained an attorney, and then of course, the amount was insufficient.

Iannelli's suit says the company was knowingly deceptive and lacks a policy to check the validity of its foreclosures or stop wrongful ones from happening. A Bank of America spokeswoman declined to comment.

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