Sunday, August 31, 2003

Novice owner put faith in her former teacher


Vickie Peppers, Northside

[IMAGE] Vickie Peppers and her former Northside home.
(Gary Landers photo)
| ZOOM |
Vickie Peppers had no intention of becoming a homeowner when she checked out a Northside home for rent. But her thoughts changed after she discovered that the owner was Roger Pepples, her old teacher from North Fairmount Elementary.

"I never had a house of my own, and I just trusted him," Peppers, 44, says. "I got a lemon of a house."

She says Pepples assured her she could buy the house even though her monthly income, including Social Security disability payments, barely reached $1,000.

Hamilton County Auditor's records show that Pepples' company, Denier Services, paid $10,300 for the house in August 1998. His crews painted and put in new carpet and drop ceilings, then sold the home to Peppers for $55,000 in February 1999.

She didn't haggle. She was surprised she even qualified for a loan. In fact, she may not have.

A lawsuit she filed in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court contends that a mortgage broker doctored a loan application to say she owned $55,000 in property. According to the lawsuit, loan papers also falsely stated that she provided $12,463 in cash at closing. The suit claimed Pepples made a second mortgage loan of $5,500 to Peppers to cover the downpayment - unbeknownst to her.

SPECIAL REPORT
TODAY:
Questionable home loan deals are contributing to record foreclosures.
Home schemes, broken dreams
High-interest loans jeopardized their home
Fliers and signs popping up on streets
Papers she can't read gave away her home
She owned, now rents family home of 100 years
Subprime loans carry high risks, high rates
Lured into investing, left with shabby rentals

MONDAY:
West and East Price Hill are prime examples of how foreclosures contribute to a neighborhood's decline.
ONLINE EXTRAS:
Search Greater Cincinnati property records and use a mortgage calculator to see how much home you can afford
Shortly after moving in, Peppers discovered gutters that didn't work, a clogged bathroom sink, blocked plumbing lines and stained ceiling tiles.

After two years, she fell behind in her $464 monthly payments, the bank started foreclosure, and she hired a Legal Aid lawyer. She lost the home, but she received $1,000 from the mortgage broker, Greg Sabbato of First Accord Financial, in an October 2001 settlement.

First Accord won't comment, and Sabbato couldn't be reached. Pepples won't discuss the case. In legal papers, he said he made all repairs that he promised to make and didn't know that the loan application was falsified.

Today, Peppers rents an apartment in the West End with help from federal Section 8 housing vouchers.

"I think it is a good thing to own a home," she says. "But it's best if you know something about it first."




SPECIAL REPORT: FORECLOSURES
Home schemes, broken dreams
High-interest loans jeopardized their home
Fliers and signs popping up on streets
Papers she can't read gave away her home
She owned, now rents family home of 100 years
Novice owner put faith in her former teacher
Lured into investing, left with shabby rentals
Subprime loans carry high risks, high rates

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