June 20, 2013
Disabled Veteran Wrongly Hounded by Wells Fargo Dies in Court
Posted on Mar 10, 2013
A typo by banking giant Wells Fargo resulted in a more than two-year legal battle that came to a tragic conclusion in December when Larry Delassus’ heart stopped in a Los Angeles area courtroom and he died, a new LA Weekly report reveals.
Delassus, a disabled Navy veteran, didn’t do anything wrong to warrant the legal action Wells Fargo took against him—as LA Weekly noted, he didn’t even owe a penny in taxes. Instead, he was the victim of a typographical error that the big bank made and then would not correct even after it discovered the mistake.
The legal saga began in January 2009 when he received a letter from Wells Fargo indicating that he had “delinquent taxes for the property located at 320 Hermosa Beach Avenue 105.” At the time, Delassus was actually six months ahead on his taxes for the Hermosa Beach, Calif., property. It wasn’t until the following year, after the bank doubled Delassus’ mortgage and threatened him with foreclosure, that attorney Anthony Trujillo figured out the error.
As it turns out, the “parcel number” in the original letter was off by two numbers. The letter was meant for someone else.
According to LA Weekly, “In court documents later, Wells Fargo attorney Robert Bailey of Anglin Flewelling Rasmussen Campbell & Trytten LLP admitted the bank’s mistake: ‘Wells Fargo paid the amount it determined was owed to the County Assessor: approximately $10,500. This was a mistake. The $10,500 was the tax amount owed on a neighboring property, not Plaintiff’s.’”
Unfortunately for Delassus, who by then was far behind on his wrongly increased mortgage payments, that ended up making little difference. Wells Fargo went after him anyway.
As Daily Kos stated, “Two digits of a property parcel number inverted. Yet it caused a man to lose his house and ultimately his life.”
—Posted by Tracy Bloom.
Previous item: Does Sanjay Gupta Fit the Bill at MedPage Today? (Video)
New and Improved Comments