Woman Loses Home Over $68 Dental Bill
A woman is 'dumbfounded' after learning her home was sold without her knowledge.
May 22, 2008 — -- Can you imagine losing your home over a $68 dental bill? That's what happened to one Utah woman.
Sonya Capri Ramos says her Salt Lake City home was sold out from under her in 1996 to pay a collections agency seeking payment for dental work performed on one of Ramos's daughters. And despite the fact that she had made three years of payments on a $51,000 mortgage, the title changed hands for just $1,550 at a sheriff's auction.
But the story doesn't end there: Ramos, 41, said she didn't find out that her home no longer belonged to her until two years after the sale. To date, she hasn't moved out.
Instead, she said she continues to make mortgage payments on the home and is fighting what has become a decade-long legal battle to reclaim ownership.
Most recently, a state appeals court ruled against Ramos. She and her lawyer, she said, are preparing to appeal to the state's supreme court.
"It's a big mess," Ramos said.
Ramos said she bought her three-bedroom home with her then-husband Roger Bangerter in 1993. The couple used a $51,000 loan from Salt Lake City under the city's first-time home buyer program.
Two years later, she took her second-oldest daughter, Bailee Bangerter, to the dentist for cavity treatments on the girl's baby teeth.
Ramos said she paid for part of the treatment, but not all of it -- a $68 bill remained.
Ramos said she had "all intentions" to pay the bill, but didn't. "I wish I would have borrowed money to pay it at the time," she said wistfully.