Summit County detectives are assisting a growing number of seniors who are facing foreclosure after homeowners tax liens are sold to aggressive collections agencies.
65 year old Dan Vercuski is facing the loss of his Coventry Township home, a home he owns free and clear, but is now set for a summer sheriff's sale.
Vercuski admits he owed $13,000 in back taxes to Summit County for several years, but said he was never told his tax lien was sold to Woods Cove LLC, or that the foreclosure process was being pursued on his home over a four year period.
"I wasn't notified for years that this was happening," said Vercuski. "I wasn't told until my home was given a date for sheriff's sale, by then it was too late."
Summit County detective Michelle Porter confirmed Vercuski was being charged 18% interest by Woods Cove LLC, causing the tax debt to balloon to more than $40,000.
Porter said more and more seniors are falling victim to his dilemma and are facing foreclosure.
"Senior citizens need to respond when they're first told about a tax delinquency, this way they can make arraignments with the county," said Porter. "Once the tax lien is sold to a collection agency, then the payment requirements become a lot tougher."
Porter said Summit County detectives handled 1300 cases in trying to help seniors in 2015, and that number is expected to grow significantly in 2016.
Vercuski said he now stands to lose $200,000 in equity in his home because he doesn't have enough income or a high enough credit rating to be able to get a loan and make the required payments on the tax debt.
Vercuski is now turning to legal aid to see if there is anything that can be done to save his home of more than 30 years.