Reporting Andrea Menniti
WALLACE (CBS13) — A Calaveras County man sent a letter to the FBI threatening to burn his house down in an attempt to gain attention to his foreclosure proceedings.
The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department was alerted by the FBI on Wednesday that Bruno Wendland, 78, sent a letter stating he intended to burn his house down.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to 280 Oliveira Court in Wallace with a hostage negotiator and briefly talked to Wendland before taking him to a local hospital for observation. He was later released and not charged with any crime.
In an interview Friday with CBS13′s Andrea Menniti, Wendland, a retired contractor, said and his wife, Erika, spent their life savings to buy the land and materials for the home. They received a $720,000 loan from IndyMac bank in 2007 ago for renovations but with only $2,000 a month in Social Security income, the couple can’t afford the mortgage payments.
Wendland said the bank was aware of their limited income but issued the loan with the idea that Wendland could sell the home for a profit after renovations. The 4,869-square-foot home on 5 acres was appraised at $2 million in 2008 before the market tanked, he said. It’s now underwater.
When IndyMac went out of business, OneWest Bank took over the loan and foreclosed on the Wendlands.
Wendland said he staged the arson because he wants attention to his situation. He says the mortgage is fraudulent and predatory. He has been fighting the foreclosure in court.
Watch Menniti’s report during the 6 p.m. newscast for more on this story.