LOS ANGELES — The pending eviction of an 80-something couple from their longtime California home after alleged fraud by their grandson has prompted an outpouring of support from neighbors and law enforcement.
In 60 days, Helen and Hank Kawecki are scheduled to be expelled from the house they’ve lived in for 56 years, after signing the deed over to a grandson who “mortgaged the property to the maximum with three loans and defaulted on all the loans...then sold the home without (the couple’s) knowledge,” according to a GoFundMe page created by Doug and Linda Emerson, who lives across the street from the Kaweckis.
The Emersons became aware of the plight after a real estate agent came to their home and introduced her clients as the soon-to-be residents of the Kaweckis’ house, the Ventura County Star reported.
Aware that the elderly couple intended to live in their residence for the rest of their lives, Doug Emerson went online to investigate and learned that loans against the home were in default.
The Emersons helped hire an attorney for Helen and Hank, who are 87 and 88, respectively, according to the statement on the GoFundMe page. Although the lawyer submitted legal filings that halted the sale of the house, “the lenders went through the foreclosure process and that could not be stopped,” Doug Emerson wrote. The couple has been granted an additional 60 days to find a place to live, according to Fox11 Los Angeles.
"You wouldn't think that a grandson would do that to you," Helen Kawecki said in an interview with KTLA, as she and her husband wiped away tears.
The alleged fraud prompted an investigation by authorities, some of whom were on hand earlier this month to help the Kaweckis move their belongings out of the home.
“Regardless of how or why the Kaweckis are in this situation, it is unfortunate,” Detective Cyrus Zadeh of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office told The Star.
Donors have given more than $80,000 to the online fundraiser. The funds are earmarked for two purposes, Emerson stated: to pay for attorney fees and subsidize the first-month’s rent, deposit and expense of moving to the couple’s new residence.
“We moved to Thousand Oaks a little over a year ago, and Hank and Helen are two of the nicest people we have ever met,” Emerson said on the GoFundMe page. “The emotional stress of them has been unbearable. We are hoping you will help them save their home. It is all they have.”
The Emersons hope to purchase the Kawecki house while it is in foreclosure, then allow them to live in it for the rest of their lives free of charge, according to The Star.