BALTIMORE - Week after week with ABC2 Scam Alert, we tell you there's no such thing as free money. But we're wrong, just this once. The Maryland Attorney General says this time something that appears too good to be true, really is true. And if you ignore the opportunity, you could be throwing away hundreds of dollars.
Thousands of Marylanders are due a check according to Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler. It's all thanks to a multi-billion dollar national mortgage settlement involving five major lenders, Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Customers who lost their homes to foreclosure resulting from loans with those banks are now eligible for settlement checks.
Gansler says postcard notices have been sent to those impacted. Those cards, and letters which will follow in the next month, feature the Attorney General's seal and detail the process. The cash payments to victims are part of a larger settlement against the banks for unscrupulous practices, with Maryland given $24 million to return to former homeowners.
Those eligible for the settlement funds were victims of foreclosure between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011. To receive your portion of the settlement, you must complete forms that will be sent to your home and return them by January 18, 2013.
Gansler says Marylanders who are part of the settlement will get at least $840, although estimates show it's more likely they'll get between $1,800-$2,000 depending on how many people respond.
While many are eligible for the money, some may never respond and that is problematic according to Gansler. His office is spreading word about the settlement to make sure victims answer the mail they may be tempted to toss. Gansler explains, "Many of these folks for days, weeks, months or years have been running from the banks. And they don't open the correspondence or respond to the correspondence from those banks. We want them to. This is literally free money for people who have been foreclosed upon."
If you don't receive the postcard or subsequent letter but you think you may be eligible, you can contact the National Mortgage Settlement Administrator at 1-866-430-8358.