Now the full-time journalists at the Seattle Times fill in the details.
Records show the couple's financial dilemma accelerated in 2006, when Karilyn Bales refinanced their four-bedroom Lake Tapps home — and an Auburn duplex she owned before she married Robert — all on the same day through Paramount Equity Mortgage. With Robert deployed, she signed the paperwork.Robert Bales was no angel. But as the war machine was chewing him up and spitting him out, the banksters were doing the same thing to his family back home.
The California lender, which Washington state regulators previously had accused of deceptive practices, put her into two loans considered "subprime," with high interest rates, prepayment penalties, and balloon payments, records show.
In all, the couple borrowed more than $500,000 as the housing market was nearing its historic implosion. Their homes now have a combined assessed value of $358,000.