SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — More than two years after dozens of homeowners around the Ozarks lost their homes to what state officials have called "fraud"-- a little vindication.
The Missouri Attorney General's Office is ordering Greenleaf, a former Springfield financing company, to pay more than $300,000 in restitution.
KSPR first broke the story of Greenleaf and its sister business The Real Estate Company in November 2008. The people never owned their homes, and their mortgage payments were used to keep Greenleaf afloat during tough economic times.
Two years ago story began with the Campbells, who lost their north Springfield home to foreclosure even though they never missed a payment. It's only right we hear from them on "judgement" day.
Stephanie Campbell is still picking up tht pieces of a new beginning she says was destroyed by a local finance company.
"It was terrible. We thought we were getting something really nice and starting something together- come to find out you're not, and we have no money to start over because they took it all. It was sickening," she tells us.
The Campbells lost two Greenleaf homes to foreclosure. After KSPR approached the company about the first one, its operators offered a second that met the same fate.
"It was kind of dumb we moved to another greenleaf house but we were in a bind."
The Campbells weren't alone, and state officials took notice.
The Missouri Secretary of State's Office issued a ceases and desist order against both companies in January 2008. That was followed by a temporary injuction from the Missouri Attorney General's Office, an FBI raid, and numerous federal lawsuits, Greenleaf and The Real Estate Company continued to operate, albeit from a distance. They asked people to leave their money in a drop box.
Today the buildings are vacant and the companies are nowhere to be found, and those affected by their business practices are moving on.
"We have a really good landlord, he takes care of us."
The Campbells are renting.
"That was about the only option," Campbell tells us.
The family is saving up money to eventually buy again. They don't expect to get any help from greenleaf... even with the attorney general's summary judgement... ordering the company to pay 308-thousand dollars back to consumers.
"Nobody will ever see a penny."
Without restitution, though, the Campbell's puzzle is complete.
"I think about it a lot- I'm finally where I can sleep at night," Campbell concludes.
This is a civil judgment. Scott Dasal and Eric Gagnepain, the businesses' operators named in the judgement, have never been charged criminally. There have been other suits and other monetary awards, $2 million to one investor in Oklahoma last February.
As part of the judgment, those men are permanently barred from selling or renting homes to people in Missouri.