ROANOKE (WSLS10)– Local attorneys are being recognized nationally for their work protecting crime victims and getting their money back.
The case all started in 2009 with Suntrust’s Home Affordable Modification Program. It was set up to help people who were having trouble making mortgage payments. Experts say the program was run incorrectly, instead of reducing payments it made many situations worse.
Local attorneys for the Attorney General’s Office of Western Virginia were part of a team that helped fight back, reaching a $132 million dollar settlement to help bay back the 24,000 customers impacted nationwide.
“The people involved in this program were already on a knife’s edge when the damage was inflicted on them,” says Stephen Pfleger, criminal chief for the U.S. Attorney of Western Virginia. “For many, it pushed them over the edge to a place where they lost their home, they suffered divorces. It was really a difficult time for so many of these people.”
The attorneys spoke with many of the people who were impacted. They say those stories were motivation to fight for the thousands who were affected.
“Hearing the victims’ stories,” says Laura Rottenborn, an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western VA District. “Knowing how a corporate decision affects an individual’s life resonates with you.”
The par was honored for their work by the U.S. Attorney General in Washington, DC last week.