Lawyer says case forced her to sell house
One of Colorado’s top foreclosure lawyers on Tuesday tearfully described being forced to sell her multimillion-dollar home in Centennial — “The house I thought I would die in” — in order to pay lawyers defending her and her firm against a state lawsuit alleging they saddled struggling homeowners with millions in concocted costs.
In a twist of irony, Caren Castle — whose Castle Law Group helped foreclose on thousands of Coloradans during the height of the mortgage crisis — testified that the costs of defending herself and her lawyer husband, Larry Castle, against the state’s four-year investigation and ensuing lawsuit pushed her to sell their palatial 11,439-square-foot home “for much less than I thought I’d sell the house I thought I would die in.”
The three-story, sevencar-garage home in the town of Foxfield in eastern Arapahoe County is replete with a fully equipped gym and an outdoor pool with tennis courts on 2 acres and sold in November for more than $2.4 million, records show.
The Castles used the money to quickly pay off an $847,000 loan they had taken from a company state prosecutors said loaned them the money, but for which they never made any payments. Castle’s admission to selling the home and paying off the loan surprised Colorado Assistant Attorney General Erik Neusch, who stopped short of asking whether the lender in which they held an interest had filed foreclosure papers for not having made any payments.
Caren Castle testified in the second day of a threeweek trial in the state’s lawsuit, which says the Castles conspired with other Denver lawyers and related businesses to concoct or inflate fees and costs associated with foreclosures, then passing those expenses on to homeowners trying to save their houses, or to banks, federal mortgage insurers and, eventually, taxpayers.
The Castles have denied the allegations. Part of Tuesday’s testimony focused on how the firm charged an unapproved $50 fee that state prosecutors say sped up thousands of Castle’s foreclosure cases. The firm charged the fee for a statement verifying that its bank clients had the right to take someone’s home. It did so without having to produce the original mortgage paperwork, instead relying on affidavits from lawyers claiming the bank held the notes and got them legally. Legislation allowing firms to do this was passed in 2006, and attorney Larry Castle helped draft the bill.