Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jul 27, 2012

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Dominick Vulpis, a plumber from New Jersey, received a disheartening letter in mail around Christmas of 2011. The letter revealed his property and home loan had fallen into foreclosure, and that he and his wife would be expected to vacate themselves from the premises after their house was sold at auction.

The most unfortunate part of this New Jersey resident’s situation is that he wasn’t even late on his home loan payment.

Rather, a lien had been placed on his property over a $140 sewer bill that had ballooned with late fees into a $50,000 monstrosity.

Vulpis claimed that he didn’t even know he had the outstanding payment levied against his property.

“It was never brought to my attention until it was too late and we were served with papers saying we had to move out of our house,” said Vulpis in an NBC News interview. “I may pay a bill late, but I pay them. I’m not trying to beat anyone for $140.”

The lien was originally placed on the home by the city he resides in, but the cash-strapped city sold that lien off to a property investor in order to reclaim some money—an all too common practice amongst smaller towns trying to raise necessary funds, according to NBC News.

The 60-year-old plumber protested the foreclosure notice, and, after much debate, finally convinced the investor to drop their foreclosure filings. But unfortunately, that debate still cost Vulpis $37,500 in a settlement agreement.

That money will be tacked onto Vulpis’s current mortgage loan balance, which is something Vulpis is already having trouble paying.

According to his attorney, Vulpis is currently negotiating to have his home loan modified.

What began as a measly $140 sewer bill turned into a frightening, frustrating, and completely demoralizing five-figure bill. And attorney’s fees have yet to be included in that bill.

Vulpis’s attorney fears that his client’s total additional cost to his home loan will equate to more than $50,000 when all is said and done.