Investigating the Issues That Affect You Most

County Wants to Return $16M to Homeowners

Roughly 1,900 homeowners that have gone through foreclosure are due money

By Lisa Parker, Robin Green and Brianna Smith
|  Thursday, Mar 22, 2012  |  Updated 9:23 PM CDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
The money is a collection of surplus funds, created after a homeowner was foreclosed upon and their home re-sold. If the foreclosed homeowner owed less on the mortgage than the final sale price of the subsequent sale, those funds go back to the first owner.

The money is a collection of surplus funds, created after a homeowner was foreclosed upon and their home re-sold. If the foreclosed homeowner owed less on the mortgage than the final sale price of the subsequent sale, those funds go back to the first owner.

Photos and Videos

Homes Held Hostage in Foreclosure Battles

As if foreclosure isn't bad enough, now many homeowners find themselves stuck -- victims of a process so confusing and complicated -- that even their homes are held hostage for years.

Chicago Digs Back Decades To Collect Debt

With controversy and allegations of a money grab swirling about red light cameras in the city, there is now another issue riling up drivers: old parking ticket debt being taken directly out of state tax refunds.
More Photos and Videos

A pot of money held in limbo at the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court could help ease the pain of some homeowners affected by the housing bust.

The money in question -- about $16 million -- are surplus funds, created after a homeowner was foreclosed upon and their home re-sold. If the foreclosed homeowner owed less on the mortgage than the final sale price of the subsequent sale, those funds go back to the first owner.

"We have an individual that’s due 13 cents. We have someone that’s due $400,000 dollars," said Dorothy Brown, the clerk of the court.

Illinois law requires these surpluses to be deposited to the clerk of the court, where it then continues to sit, collecting interest until the original homeowner claims it.

The problem? Finding those people. Many don’t realize the funds are due them, and many who’ve been through foreclosure don’t often leave a forwarding address.

"It’s hard to find them because many times when people lose their properties to mortgage foreclosure they have also have a lot of credit card debt and a lot other kinds of debts, and they’re probably actually running from those creditors," said Brown. "As a result when they leave their property, they don’t leave a forwarding address."

In an attempt to shorten a lengthy list of names and a piggy bank of surplus money, Brown's office has created a searchable section on its website to help locate the funds' owners.

Those who think they may have money in the fund can visit www.CookCountyClerkofCourt.org and enter their last name, first initial, and phone number

"I just felt it was something we should do for the people," said Brown.

For those experiencing the foreclosure process right now, the clerk advised homeowners to stay in contact with her office. The clerk's office can help monitor the sale of the homes and alert the homeowner if they're owed a surplus.

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Get Our Weather App
Stay ahead of the storm with the NBC 5... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out