By Paul Young
A Riverside family remained in a foreclosed home from which they were evicted — with supporters camped outside — amid reports sheriff’s deputies were expected to arrive today to remove them.
Arturo de los Santos, his wife, Magdalena, their two boys and two girls have been together in the single-story residence at 3270 Layton Court since Christmas. De los Santos had moved back into the home alone on Dec. 6.
The 46-year-old was one of 30 people who took part in the December “National Occupy Homes Day,” a spinoff of the Occupy Wall Street movement intended to spotlight alleged abuses in the mortgage industry.
Former property owners whose houses were repossessed went back to the places to reside, effectively trespassing.
According to de los Santos, a Riverside County Superior Court judge Thursday granted a writ of possession to Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant that holds the note to the foreclosed home. The writ clears the way for deputies to eject de los Santos and his family from the property.
“People are hoping the sheriff won’t actually enforce the order,” Peter Kuhns, with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, one of the groups supporting de los Santos, told City News Service. “If the deputies show up, everyone is planning on being peaceful. They’re just there to support Arturo.”
He said around 20 demonstrators are staying inside and outside the three-bedroom property.
De los Santos told CNS last week that he was prepared to get arrested to spotlight how “the bank is messing up.”
The former U.S. Marine sent a letter to Sheriff Stan Sniff explaining his circumstances and asking the county’s top law enforcement officer not to carry out an eviction.
“We have no choice but to re-evict since no payment has been received on his mortgage for nearly two and a half years,” Freddie Mac spokesman Brad German said in an email. “The house went into foreclosure in November 2010 and was lawfully vacated and secured in July 2011. The only way to recover the losses taxpayers have taken on the unpaid mortgage is to re-secure and sell the house to a new buyer.”
The de los Santos family lived in the house for eight years before they were evicted in July.
De los Santos said he’s continuing to attempt contact with representatives from Chase bank, from which he obtained his original mortgage for the house, and Freddie Mac in the hopes of working out a compromise that would allow him to reacquire the house.
De los Santos purchased the Layton Court house, which sits on the edge of a cul de sac in Riverside’s La Sierra neighborhood, in 2003 but said he fell behind on his loan payments in 2009 after business plummeted at the Santa Ana factory where he’s employed as a supervisor.
He had received an interest-only mortgage on the property originally and applied for a loan modification to pare down his monthly costs, but he alleges that representatives of Chase refused to accept the proposed terms and instead initiated foreclosure proceedings.
The Occupy Homes campaign is backed by a number of groups, including ACCE, ReFund California, The New Bottom Line, Take Back the Land, SOUL and the Service Employees International Union.