ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. — Allen Superior Court is looking for more than 40 former property owners who might be entitled to money following the foreclosure sale of their homes.
Superior Court has already facilitated the return of more than $305,000 to former property owners and has established a system that will hopefully make it possible to return even more.
During 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a halt in jury trials and other proceedings, including mortgage foreclosures. Superior Court’s Civil Division staff took advantage of the opportunity to review past foreclosure cases, looking for surpluses owed to the original homeowners.
What they found was more than 70 cases with surpluses that had not been claimed by the homeowners. A surplus represents the difference between the amount owed to the financial institution that foreclosed on the property and the amount the property sold for at Sheriff’s Sale. Amounts ranged from less than $200 to nearly $50,000.
“The pandemic presented us with incredible challenges, but also this important opportunity,” said Judge Jennifer DeGroote, who hears foreclosure cases in Superior Court. “Our staff took the initiative to go back and track down dozens of people who had money waiting for them. This is the first time Superior Court has done this and the results have been remarkable so far.”
Superior Court has been able to facilitate the return of more than $305,000 in foreclosure surpluses to former property owners or their heirs. However, more than $282,000 remains to be returned to individuals the court has not yet been able to locate.
In the majority of circumstances, surplus funds from a Sheriff’s Sale are held by the Clerk of the Courts until claimed. A court order is needed to claim these funds. If the money remains unclaimed, it can eventually be turned over to the Indiana Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Division after 5 years.
Superior Court staff reviewed 72 mortgage foreclosure cases that resulted in surpluses and has so far been able to return funds in 27 of those. In 45 additional cases, however, the court has so far been unable to contact the former property owner or their heirs. Court staff sent notices to the parties in those cases, but received no response.
Superior Court has taken steps to further extend its outreach to those with a claim on the surplus funds.
- A list of foreclosure cases with surplus funds has been posted online at www.allensuperiorcourt.us/foreclosure. The list includes case numbers, the amount of surplus funds being held and other information.
- Individuals’ names will not be posted on the web page. Anyone with a past foreclosure case, or their heirs, can check the list for their case number. If they do not have that case number, it can be obtained by visiting mycase.in.gov and searching by name.
- A designated email address, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org has been established to answer questions. Claims on a foreclosure surplus cannot be filed via the email address.
- If someone believes they have a claim on a specific Sheriff’s Sale surplus, they should submit a letter to the Allen County Clerk of the Courts, establishing their claim on the funds. That letter must contain the original foreclosure case number. Letters should be sent to the Allen County Clerk of the Courts, 715 S. Calhoun St., Room 200A, Fort Wayne, IN 46802.
Claims submitted on surplus foreclosure funds will likely result in a court hearing.
“It has been an ambitious undertaking already to find so many former property owners and return the money they are due,” said Judge Craig J. Bobay, Administrative Judge of Superior Court’s Civil Division. “We encourage those who have been though a foreclosure to take a look at their records and review the list we have posted online. We want to do more, but we need help.”