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D.C. Residents Forced Into Foreclosure Over Unpaid Tax Bills

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An investigation has found the D.C. government is allowing private investors to pursue foreclosures on hundreds of homes over unpaid tax bills, but many debts are less than $500.

The Washington Post reports the District government has placed liens on properties when homeowners did not pay their tax bills for decades. Liens are sold at auction for investors to collect the debts.

But the program, according to the Post investigation, has grown into system where $500 tax bills morph into $5,000 debts. Investors charge homeowners thousands in legal fees.

Retired Marine Sgt. Bennie Coleman lost his home two years ago over a $134 property tax bill. Another woman lost her home to a Maryland investor over a tax debt of $45 while she was struggling with Alzheimer's.

Many of the foreclosures target poor neighborhoods in District.

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