Friday, February 18, 2011

Elder Financial Terrorism - The Patricia and Richard Hickerson Story

Our story is about my parents, Patricia and Richard Hickerson who were
sold a reverse mortgage that was not needed or appropriate for their
circumstances. It’s a tragic story of deceit, fraud and purposefully targeting
vulnerable seniors to deprive them of their property, retirement, dignity and
quality of life.

Mom and Dad were good, caring, and trusting people who worked all their
lives to provide for each other and their family. They lived in a modest home
they took pride in for 25 years. Mom and Dad volunteered together
delivering “Meals on Wheels” and Mom volunteered for the city and thrift
shop. They enjoyed giving back to the community where they lived.


In April of 2002 Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and could no
longer balance a checkbook or manage the family finances as she had all
her married life. By 2003 mom was unable make change for a twenty dollar
bill. She required assistance in basic activities of daily living.

Dad had been suffering from 9 major illnesses for more than 10 years,
including heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. By 2004 he also had
metastatic cancer in his head and advanced liver cancer. Dad knew he
was dying but he never told anyone. He never complained or told us how
much he was suffering.

In January 2005 Dad applied for long term care insurance for Mom and
himself. They were denied coverage because of their medical history and
the fact that Mom would need long term care for Alzheimer's disease.


In 2005 Dad noticed the TV ads featuring James Garner and Robert
Wagner talking about the benefits of Financial Freedom Reverse
Mortgages. Dad responded to a mailer wanting to know what a reverse
mortgage was.

On March 11, 2005 a sales representative came into their home and gave a
mis-leading generic presentation full of all sorts of benefits that did not apply
to my parents circumstances or financial situation. He brought with him a
Pacific Reverse Mortgage generated loan application, good faith estimate,
disclosures and amortization schedule based on property value
guesstimated by my dad to be $650,000.

A formal property appraisal was done later and came in at $530,000 - 20%
less than Dad's estimate. The salesman's only disclosure was the
appraisal came in lower but Dad would get about the same amount of

The mandatory counseling required for reverse mortgages is a joke! There
is no counseling on the things that should matter - what is the financial
situation, health, long term need, legal and tax consequences of a reverse
mortgage on these critical end of life issues?

On May 12,2005 hundreds of pages of the reverse mortgage contract were
presented to my parent's for signature. This was the first and only time my
parents would see the contract with the correct figures based on the formal
appraisal. ONLY 12 pages of the signed contract were left with my parents,
none of which contained any of the critical terms of the contract such as the
lien amount, right of rescission, HUD closing statement, deed of trust,
closing costs, etc.

The Reverse Mortgage my parents received was:

One time lump sum payment $ 81,000

For this the lenders:

Paid off existing mortgage $121,000
Charged Fees and costs* $ 25,000
Property LIEN $470,000

Financial Freedom and Pacific Reverse Mortgage prey on vulnerable
seniors by never doing the "right thing" to make sure the consequences of
their loans will do no harm. They did nothing but gain my parents trust, and
steal their home.

One month after signing the reverse mortgage contract Dad passed away.
It breaks my heart that Dad's dying wish to care for mom for the rest of her
life, was stolen from him. If the terms were explained simply and honestly
that for a one time payment of $81,000 (15% *of their property value) they
would pay $25,000* in fees and costs in exchange for their home, dad
would never have agreed. Let's be real - who in their right mind would
agree to these terms?

The reverse mortgage lien prevented us from accessing the more than
$400,000 equity in our home. Since Dad passed away I am a full time
caregiver to mom and have paid for her care and living expenses for the last
five years with her savings, portfolio and social security. Today, we have no
funds remaining and are in the negative every month.

This didn't just happen to my parents. There are thousands of other families
with similar devastating reverse mortgage stories. It is happening everyday
to someone's parents, relatives or friends.

See the news and other stories page for more


No comments: