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'Sweet Justice': A Florida Couple 'Forecloses' On Bank Of America

Over the past few years, we've heard plenty of horror stories about bungled foreclosures. The one of Warren and Maureen Nyerges, from the Naples, Fla. area, is just as bad. In 2009, they bought a home with cash, yet in 2010 Bank of America tried to foreclose on them. It took two months of phone calls and eventually court intervention to clear up the misunderstanding.

In December, a judge ordered the bank to pay the couple $2,500 in attorney fees. But months went by and the bank never cut a check. So, the Naples Daily News reports, Nyerges hired a lawyer, who pursued a levy, and this past Friday the showdown was on: The Nyergeses showed up to a local branch of Bank of America with the sheriff, the media and some movers with a truck:

"I'm either leaving the building with a whole bunch of furniture, or a check or cash or something," the attorney, Todd Allen, vowed.

It was a scene that turned the foreclosure crisis on its head, if briefly. Collier County sheriff's deputies entered the bank shortly after 9 a.m., located the bank manager and presented him with a court writ and a familiar choice: Pay the money or prepare to lose possessions.

Allen told local station WFMY that he had ordered the deputies to take photocopiers, desks, computers and even whatever cash was in the drawer to settle the debt. Allen said the bank manager on duty was "visibly shaken."

"Having two sheriff's deputies sitting across your desk and a lawyer standing up behind them demanding whatever assets are in the bank can be intimidating, but so is having your home foreclosed on, when it wasn't right," Allen said.

An hour later, the bank cut a check. Allen called it "sweet justice," because this case, he said, is a symptom of a larger problem. If you remember, Bank of America, GMAC and JPMorgan Chase were forced to freeze their foreclosures late last year, to evaluate whether they had made errors.

Here is video of WFMY's report:

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.