Recession nightmare: When bankers move in...to your foreclosure

It's hard to imagine a pleasant foreclosure. Like root canals or appendicitis, they don't really come with a silver lining; after all, it's hard to find a way to put a smiley face on being turned out of one's home. However, while there are few things that can make a foreclosure enjoyable, there are many factors that can make it considerably worse. Perhaps the worst of these is the notion that the bank, an entity that is ethically charged with making the foreclosure process as impersonal as possible, would allow its employees to reap a personal benefit from a customer's pain.

For Lawrence and Linda Elins, their forced relocation from their Malibu beach house was traumatic, as it came on the heels of a massive financial crisis. The Elins, who had invested much of their money with Bernard Madoff, were devastated by the December 2008 revelation that he was a fraud. In the ensuing months, they attempted to piece together the broken parts of their financial life, finally deciding in May 2009 to surrender the house that they had owned for 13 years.