7 On Your Side: Mortgage mess nearly costs lady her home

Paterson, NJ (WABC) -- "I literally thought I was going to have a heart attack." Paterson homeowner, Tana McPherson, couldn't figure out why she was slapped with a tax lien on her condo, but there it was in black and white.

"It's shocking to get something in the mail like that especially when you work every day and pay your bills everyday," she said. McPherson is a public defender in Bergen County. She's used to advocating for the poor and was even more horrified to be informed her tax lien would be publicly advertised twice.

McPherson says she did pay her taxes, on time, every quarter through her mortgage company, Nationstar, that took her monthly payment and was supposed to escrow a portion to pay her quarterly property taxes.

What happened to the money? Tana says she doesn't know. So she reached into her own pocket, shelling out nearly 4 grand to get her home off the auction block. That was last June, but good luck getting the money back from Nationstar.

"I made several phone sent emails and I never got answered," said McPherson.

So we contacted the mortgage servicer. In 24 hours two checks for the taxes she had to pay twice arrived.

"You were an advocate for me, you're an advocate for the people and we need you," said McPherson.

A Nationstar rep admitted fault, blaming the huge mistake on "off shore customer service reps" who work for an outside company. To make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else, it's looking into retraining customer service reps.

The big takeaway, if your mortgage company pays your taxes and insurance, pay attention to your yearly escrow statement to make sure the balance is correct. And call to your local tax collector to see if your taxes are getting paid on time.
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