Wells Fargo Typo Victim Lost His Condo and then His Life in Court

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Larry Delassus (photo: Debbie Popovich)

Wells Fargo said Larry Delassus of Hermosa Beach, California, didn’t repay the bank for two years worth of property taxes they paid for him, so it had no choice but to double his mortgage payment to recoup the lost funds.


Delassus didn’t pay that either, so they took his condo, but not before he found out that his legal problems were the result of a Wells Fargo typo that incorrectly identified him as a scofflaw. Wells Fargo had the wrong address and the wrong man. The bank acknowledged its mistake, but stood by its decision. So Delassus—old, sick and on a fixed income—went to court.


And that’s where he died of cardiac arrest in December…in the courtroom, slumped over at a table with his attorney, the day after the judge indicated she was going to side with Wells Fargo in Delassus’ negligence and discrimination lawsuit.   


LA Weekly chronicled the 62-year-old Navy veteran’s descent into the bewildering legal labyrinth which began in January 2009 with a notice from the bank that he owed money for property taxes. Wells Fargo doubled his mortgage two months later. Delassus hired a lawyer, but in December 2009 the bank notified him of an impending foreclosure.


In May 2010, the lawyer, Anthony Trujillo, discovered the Wells Fargo typo in its original letter to Delassus, which listed the parcel number of a neighbor. The bank acknowledged the mistake in September 2010, but had already tacked on a reinstatement fee and other costs.


Delassus couldn’t afford to pay the new charges and sued the bank in January 2011. He was hospitalized in May 2011, suffering from the rare liver disease Budd-Chiari Syndrome, and was notified on the day he got out that the bank had sold his home of 16 years. 


Delassus moved to Carson Senior Assisted Living, grew sicker and ended up at Tender Liv-in Care in Torrance. He was not well, but he wanted to make a final appeal on his last day in court, December 19. Delassus collapsed in court and died shortly thereafter.


LA Weekly said Wells Fargo spokesperson Vickee J. Adams told them Delassus was wasting his time. “Given that there was no testimony or evidence to be presented at the hearing, there was no reason for Mr. Delassus to attend, and it is truly unfortunate that he was brought there.” 

-Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Wells Fargo Typo Victim Dies in Court (by Jessica Ogilvie, LA Weekly)

Disabled Hermosa Beach Veteran Dies in Court Fighting Foreclosure (by Ed Pilolla, Easy Reader)

Elderly Man Who Lost His House Because of Wells Fargo TYPO Collapses and Dies in Court (by Helen Pow, Daily Mail)


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