How a $140 Sewer Bill Could Cost New Jersey Plumber More Than $50,000


If it was not surprising enough for 60-year-old Dominick Vulpis and his wife to learn last December that they had lost their home to foreclosure, imagine the shock when they learned exactly why: a four-year-old $140 sewer bill.

NBC News reported on July 24, 2012, that the foreclosure was the result of a tax lien (see explanation in video above) his hometown of Middletown, New Jersey, had sold to a third-party investor. While NBC noted that this is "an increasingly common practice as cash-strapped cities and towns try to raise badly needed revenues to close widening budget gaps," it also mentioned that situations like the Vulpis' are rare.

"It was never brought to my attention until it was too late and we were served with papers saying we had to move out of our house," Vulpis told NBC. "I may pay a bill late, but I pay them. I'm not trying to beat anyone for $140."

NBC also noted that the National Consumer Law Center estimated that local governments raised nearly $15 billion through tax lien sales in 2010. Vulpis did manage to get the foreclosure overturned by rolling the bill into his mortgage balance, but NBC said that the total bill could exceed $50,000 when combined with attorney fees and added interest.

While a majority of tax lien sales were for unpaid assessments on failed or unfinished commercial developments, such sales still land more people in foreclosure proceedings. A struggling economy has left more homeowners seeking foreclosure help, and this week we will focus on some of the pains caused by foreclosure. If you are facing foreclosure, you may be able to delay the process by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy or possibly even save your home by filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Contact our firm at (866) 930-7482 to see how our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can help you.

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