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I-Team: Law firm mistake leaves couple without home

I-Team: Law firm mistake leaves couple without home
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A little over a month ago, John and Ann Roach bought a foreclosed home near Indian Lake in South Kingstown.

In short order, they sold their home in Rumford.

The couple said at this point in their lives it was time for a change.

"We thought what a wonderful place to create memories with our grandchildren, the next generation. We were close to fishing, planning on kayaking, and getting a small boat," Ann Roach said.

The Roaches's closing on the foreclosed home was scheduled for Oct. 21, but then at the very last minute, it was called off.

"Sharon Steel, our Realtor, met with us last Friday and told us because Harmon Law had failed to provide proper notification of foreclosure, we'd be unable to obtain title insurance" Ann Roach said.

Harmon Law is a large firm located in Newton, Mass. It's currently under investigation by state Attorney General Martha Coakley who is looking into unfair and deceptive acts on the part of the firm.

A slew of complaints exist against the firm, known as a "foreclosure mill."

In the Roaches's case, Harmon Law did publish a foreclosure notice in the Westerly Sun for the property at 45 Red Feather Trail.

But what the law firm apparently didn't bother to check was the fact that the Westerly Sun moved its offices to Pawcatuck, Conn.

Rhode Island state law requires foreclosures to be published in a Rhode Island daily newspaper in the county where the foreclosed house is located.

"This is their area. They're not doing this for the first time and they got to be responsible," John Roach said.

The Roaches said they received a note from a lawyer at Harmon Law.

"Hi Folks, unfortunately this property has to be re-foreclosed we have to terminate the contract," the note read.

In a statement to the I-Team, Harmon Law said in part, "We truly regret that events, which were out of our control, have caused hardship and concern for Mr. and Mrs. Roach."

The law firm blamed the Westerly Sun for not notifying them that they moved.

Fannie Mae, which holds the mortgage, said it is trying to help the couple, as is U.S. Rep. James Langevin's office.

So far though, nothing's changed and the Roaches don't have a permanent place to live.

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