All photos are available to be used with prior permission granted to your news agency from the photographers, subjects and venues if applicable. Please feel free to change cutlines to suit your needs and to create them as well. Thank you for your consideration in publishing this story. -Dusty Pérez & News Team, Metro News Network

Tandom photo of Wm. "Bill" Stephens home in McHenry, IL and Wm. "Bill" Stephens. (Photo: © Google & WMS Photog.)

Wm. "Bill" Stephens and "Jake" who recently passed away in 2019. (Photo © Samantha Stephens)

Wm. "Bill" Stephens (Photo © Samantha Stephens)

Wm. "Bill" Stephens home at 1705 N. Ryan St., McHenry, IL with his van in the driveway. (Photo © Google Maps)

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Mortgage modification scam leaves journalist homeless, jobless

by Dustin Alexander-Pérez, Staff Writer | Metro News Wire Service | Sunday, April 14, 2019 | 5:00 AM CT

McHENRY, IL - A news photographer faces becoming homeless after the mortgage company he was dealing with reportedly pulled a modification scam on the man refusing a back payment of $35,000 in February 2017. Stephens originally asked the mortgage company to refinance his agreement, but instead modified it with no notice. 

William M. Stephens, 62, of McHenry, Illinois has lived in his home at 1705 North Ryan Street, for over 30 years and only became tardy on his mortgage after undergoing a quintuple bypass after suffering a heart attack in 2013 and bladder cancer. In total, Stephens went through four surgeries and three rounds of chemotherapy. Fortunately, he is currently cancer free.

Stephens owns and operates a security business and is also a freelance photographer for Metro News Network and stringer for ABC Disney Television. He has worked his entire life to earn everything he owns, but now, McHenry County Associate Judge Suzanne C. Mangiamele, could take all of that away on May 1, 2019.

But, the question is why did SPS Mortgage Co. which is the lender with U.S. Bank decide to refuse a guaranteed back payment from Illinois' Hardest Hit in 2017? They reportedly explained they were currently in litigation with Stephens, but they offered no further comment as to who Stephens could make the payment to therefore escalating his property into foreclosure proceedings, personal despair and massive debt.

Stephens reared two children as a single parent in his home and is hoping to remain there for as long as possible. He lost almost half of his clients due to his health issues of the past six years. If he is forced to move, it will do irrevocable damage to his flailing business let alone to his health.

Stephens is well known in McHenry County for past service as Deputy EMA Director and a volunteer paramedic and fireman for over 30 years. We've set up a Go Fund Me page which can be found at this link. But, we're also asking our fellow news media colleagues to get this story out to the masses in the hopes that it will bring to light the flawed and biased mortgage lending system in Illinois and hopefully to ensure that no one else has to go through what Stephens is going through now.

Dustin Alexander-Pérez is a staff writer for Metro News Wire Service and has been covering human interest stories since 2010. Currently located in Southern California, he writes about people from around the nation.