Bellevue trustee company settles with servicemembers

The company is being liquidated to repay active servicemembers who were illegally foreclosed on.

A Bellevue-based foreclosure services company recently settled allegations that it violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) numerous times since 2010, illegally leaving service members without homes.

Northwest Trustee Services, Inc., which closed in December 2017, now is being liquidated in state court receivership proceedings after the settlement required the company to repay military service members impacted by the violations. The original complaint was filed in May 2016 and alleged the company illegally foreclosed 28 homes owned by service members without obtaining court orders required under the SCRA.

Marine veteran Jacob McGreevey of Vancouver, Wash., submitted the complaint after his home was foreclosed less than two months after he returned from active duty in Iraq in August 2010. The case was dismissed due to the length of time it took McGreevey to file, but the following investigation discovered numerous other violations and the company was sued in November 2017.

The settlement, filed on Sept. 27, required Northwest Trustee Services to compensate each impacted service member with as much as $125,000 each and a total payout of as much as $750,000.

Previously, the company provided foreclosure services to mortgage lenders in the western United States, but it was placed into a general receivership on March 28. That means the victims will still receive compensation from the company’s assets, despite it being closed.

“Those who serve in our military deserve zealous representation of their rights,” said U.S. attorney Annette Hayes, who announced the settlement in a press release. “We are working to ensure that service members whose homes were illegally foreclosed on by Northwest Trustee receive up to $125,000 in compensation. Northwest Trustee may have shuttered its foreclosure business, but that does not end its obligation to do right by service members.”

The SCRA protects active service members from that situation by suspending or modifying certain civil obligations, including a prohibition on foreclosing the home of a service member during active military service and one year thereafter without a court order if the mortgage originated prior to the service member’s period of active military service.

Assistant U.S. attorneys Christina Fogg and Kyle Forsyth of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington and trial attorneys Alan Martinson and Nicole Siegel of the Civil Rights Division for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) oversaw the case.

“The loss of a home is a devastating blow for anyone — but far worse for active duty service members often called to war zones far from Western Washington,” Hayes said in a press release. “Our investigation revealed that Northwest Trustee Services repeatedly failed to comply with laws that are meant to ensure our service members do not have to fight a two front war— one on behalf of all of us, and the other against illegal foreclosures. My office will continue to work closely with our colleagues in the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C. to protect Western Washington service members from this kind of misconduct.”

Northwest Trustee Services could potentially reenter the foreclosure business but would have to abide by and implement DOJ-approved policies, procedures and training, as required by the settlement.

The SCRA also provides certain protections in evictions, rental agreements, security deposits, prepaid rent, civil judicial proceedings, installment contracts, credit card interest rates, mortgage interest rates, mortgage foreclosures, automobile leases, life insurance, health insurance and income tax payments.

Service members or their dependants can contact the nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program Office if they think their rights are being violated. Locations can be found at

More in Business

Left, Tony Rummans as BitTitan’s vice president of global sales. Right, Bonnie Geers, MBAKS 1st VP, Quadrant Homes. Courtesy photos
Local business news

BitTitan VP; tunnels

Eastside tech companies Smartsheet, OfferUp, Apptio face challenging 2019

Here are a handful of companies from the Eastside that will be interesting to watch in 2019.

Anchorhead Coffee takes over former Bellevue Tully’s location

It will be the coffee roaster’s third store and second on the Eastside.

Entering the winter real estate market

In Bellevue, the last time inventory levels have been as high as they were in October was 2012.

Wine and Justice is a fundraiser that supports civil legal aid for low-income families in East King County. Attendees heard from Microsoft’s Strategic Policy Advisor, David Heiner and ELAP attorneys on Oct. 25. Photo courtesy of ELAP.
Campaign for Equal Justice hosts third annual Bellevue Wine and Justice fundraiser

More than 80 people attended the third annual Wine and Justice event at Cast Iron Studios in Bellevue on Oct. 25.

LifeSpring uncorks more than half a million dollars

Bellevue auction and benefit sees success.

CEVO has retained or created 7,000 jobs

Bellevue Cultural and Economic Vitality Office reports 2018 progress to council.

Keynote speaker Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer, spoke of creating technologies, workplaces, and communities that celebrate and harness the power of people of all abilities, and how she has found strength through her own disability. Madison Miller/staff photo.
Kindering raises more than $330,000 at annual luncheon

Kindering CEO retires after 40 years at the helm.

Two businesses leaving the Marketplace at Factoria

At least two businesses are leaving the mall, with a third possibly departing.

Assistant teacher, Ms. Jyoti prompts questions for the preschoolers. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo.
Goddard School holds 11th annual preschooler-approved toy test

Children at Goddard School test toys for top 10 list.

Two Eastside friends develop a service provider application

Amin Shaykho and Marwan El-Rukby develop a local startup called Kadama.