COA affirms conversion judgment against mortgage lender

September 14, 2016

A mortgage company lost its appeal of a ruling that it effectively stole the Muncie property from its borrower, who is entitled to $158,392.50 in damages, including $74,000 under the Indiana Crime Victims Relief Act.

Bayview Loan Servicing LLC obtained title to a vacant commercial property owned by Golden Foods Inc., and Lewis R. Coulter, after a third party had redeemed it at a tax sale. Coulter had been paying a mortgage on the property since 1988 that had been assigned to Bayview, and he apprised the note-holder about the tax sale and arrangements were made to redeem the property.

This never happened though, and the trial court found substantial evidence that Bayview had converted the property without due process and failed to inform Golden Foods and Coulter, who continued to make mortgage payments on the property.

Judge Rudolph R. Pyle III wrote for the panel that Bayview’s appeal was merely a request to reweight the evidence, which the court may not do.  

"Bayview contends that that there is insufficient evidence that it committed criminal conversion of either the Madison Street Property or Golden Foods’ [Loan Adjustment Agreement] payments. Golden Foods and Coulter respond that the ‘evidence is overwhelming that Bayview knowingly and intentionally embarked upon a calculated course of conduct to surreptitiously take Golden Foods’ Madison Street Property for its own use and benefit, and then purposely create[] a false impression in Coulter and Golden Foods that the relationship contemplated by the LAA was in place in order to induce them to make monthly payments.’ ... According to Golden Foods, Bayview’s actions constitute conversion. We agree with Golden Foods," Pyle wrote for the panel.

The case is Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC v. Golden Foods, Inc., and Lewis R. Coulter, 18A02-1508-MI-1191.


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