After Geraldine Tyler and Tawanda Hall fell behind on their property taxes, the government sold their homes and allegedly kept the profits, Reason reports.
Following a several-years long fight against home equity theft, Tyler’s case is set to go forth in front of the Supreme Court.
Initially, Tyler owed $2,300 for property taxes and rent. Then, the amount she owed increased when penalties, interests, and fees were added up to equal an overall total of $15,000.
The issue at hand isn’t about the debt the 94-year-old owed, but rather the timeline of when the government looked to collect her debt, seized her home, sold it, and then kept the profit.
“We agree that the government can seize the property to collect a debt,” said Christina M. Martin, a senior attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation who has represented Tyler and Hall, according to the outlet. “What it can’t do is take more than it’s owed.”
The government reportedly sold the home for $40,000 and allegedly took the remaining $25,000 for itself. The outlet also notes it was never stated that Tyler owed anything close to that amount.
For Hall’s home, she owed $900 for her property taxes but after penalties, interests, and fees, her debt totaled $22,642.
Similar to Tyler, the government followed the route of taking her home and the profit. Being that Hall’s home was valued at over $300,000, the state of Michigan pocketed more than $286,000.
“[I was] running around trying to find out who can I talk to, what can I do to stop this from happening?” Hall said, according to the outlet. “There was really no one there to work with us or help us or even tell us what route to go.”