California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Foreclosure fraud' Category

Addicted to Fraud: JPMorgan Chase

March 3rd, 2015 at 12:23pm

Still not “getting the message” after being part of the $25 billion national mortgage settlement with the 50 state attorneys general for allegations that it robo-signed foreclosure documents, JPMorgan Chase‘s investors are paying the piper again.

Read the full article in National Mortgage News.

Roseville residents plead guilty in loan modification scheme targeting Hispanics

February 6th, 2015 at 10:41am

Two Roseville residents each face 20 years in federal prison and up to $250,000 for operating a loan modification scam that primarily targeted distressed Hispanic homeowners (affinity fraud, ethnic fraud).

Martin Wayne Flanders, 50, and Ligia Sandoval Spafford, 48, pleaded guilty to mail fraud according to U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.

According to court documents filed by prosecutors, between 2008 and 2010, Flanders charged clients upfront/advance fees and promised to provide the victims loan modifications, mortgage loan audits, credit repair, debt relief, bankruptcy filings, and an option to sell their homes to investors, who would rent back to them and offer a later re-purchase. Victims were found by advertising in Spanish-language TV and magazines. They also had air time on the Bay Area Spanish-language Christian radio station known as Radio Luz, where Sandoval advertised the “services” she and Martin Flanders offered.

The charges in this case were numerous. Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times to learn more details.

 

Hispanics charged with targeting other Hispanics in Orange County loan modification scam

January 29th, 2015 at 3:50pm

Five people are facing charges of committing loan modification fraud by targeting Latino victims throughout Southern California. Three of the defendants are family members and are charged with leading a family-run home loan modification ring and illegally charging victims for services that they did not provide.

According to an article in the Orange County Breeze,

“Carlos Centeno is accused of owning and operating the Foreclosure Prevention Department in Irvine, and co-defendants Ricardo Centeno and Lizeth Arzate are accused of owning and operating Debt Settlers of America (DSA) in Orange, which advertised assistance for the renegotiation of home loans. The defendants are accused of advertising DSA on Hispanic radio stations throughout the state in order to target victims.

Co-defendants Hector Valdivia and Susie Rabadan are accused of being office managers and consultants at DSA. Valdivia and Rabadan are accused of knowingly assisting Carlos Centeno, Ricardo Centeno and Liz Arzate in charging and accepting illegal upfront fees from victims for services that they did not provide by collecting and processing loan modification applications.”

Prosecutors are alleging that between December 2009 and December 2012, the defendants contacted 23 victims and promised them assistance with negotiating their home loans. The defendants then charged their victims upfront fees (“advance fees”) of $2,000 to $2,500, which is illegal. They are further accused of directly collecting several victims’ monthly mortgage payments and depositing them into their personal bank accounts. As a result, many of the victims’ homes were foreclosed by the lenders.

Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Pete Pierce of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s 7 Measures to Protect Homeowners

December 11th, 2014 at 9:43pm

The following information is being made available, courtesy of mortgage broker Dan Dobbs. If you’re looking for a loan, you can find Dan on his website:  http://danieldobbs.org/

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is proposing additional measures to ensure, it says, that homeowners are treated fairly by mortgage servicers.

Since the new mortgage rules went into effect on Jan. 10 2014, the CFPB has kept a close eye on making sure servicers maintain accurate records, and give troubled borrowers direct and ongoing access to servicing personnel.

This proposal follows the CFPB’s continued focus on making sure the rules are working as intended.

Here are the 7 key changes that will impact servicers:

  1. Extended borrower protection

Right now , a mortgage servicer must give the borrower certain foreclosure protections, including the right to be evaluated under the CFPB’s requirements for options to avoid foreclosure, BUT only once during the life of the loan.

Under the newly proposed rule, servicers would have to give those protections again for borrowers who have brought their loanscurrent at any time since the last loss mitigation application. 

  1. Death protection

If a borrower dies, CFPB rules currently require that servicers promptly identify and communicate with family members, heirs, or other parties, known as “successors in interest,” who have a legal interest in the home.

The proposal would expand the circumstances in which consumers would be considered successors under the rules, including when a property is transferred after a divorce, legal separation, through a family trust, between spouses, from a parent to a child or when a borrower who is a joint tenant dies.

  1. Proper notifications

Servicers must notify borrowers promptly that the loss mitigation application is complete, so that borrowers know the status of the application and their foreclosure protections.

  1. Holds servicers to timeframe

The proposal clarifies that generally a transferee servicer must comply with the loss mitigation requirements within the same timeframes that applied to the transferor servicer.

Under the current system, when mortgages are transferred from one servicer to another, borrowers who had applied to the prior servicer for loss mitigation may not know where they stand with the new servicer.

  1. Clarifies servicers’ obligations

The bureau is proposing to clarify what steps servicers and their foreclosure counsel must take to protect borrowers from a wrongful foreclosure sale.

Servicers who do not take reasonable steps to prevent the sale must dismiss a pending foreclosure action.

This aids servicers in complying with, and assist courts in applying, the dual-tracking prohibitions in foreclosure proceedings to prevent wrongful foreclosures.

  1. Delinquent advance date change

It would clarify that delinquency, for purposes of the servicing rules , begins on the day a borrower fails to make a periodic payment.

Under the proposal, when a borrower misses a payment but later makes it up, if the servicer must apply the payment to the oldest outstanding periodic payment, the date of delinquency advances.

  1. Keep borrower updated, regularly

The proposal would generally require servicers to provide periodic statements to those borrowers, with specific information tailored for bankruptcy, along with requiring servicers to provide writtenearly intervention notices to let those borrowers know about loss mitigation options.

 

Sentences Handed Out in Spanish-Language Foreclosure Fraud

December 10th, 2014 at 8:39am

Four people have been sentenced in a large-scale real estate loan modification scam operating out of Pico Rivera.

Sergeant Dana McCants of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Fraud and Cyber Crimes Bureau said that his agency’s investigation into “Safe Haven,” aka “Your Dreams Come True,” showed that the firm falsely promised distressed homeowners help in saving their homes. The company advertised on Christian Spanish radio stations (affinity fraud) and according McCants, reeled in over 500 Spanish-speaking homeowners.

Safe Haven Executive Director Alex Jurado received five years in prison, as did co-defendant Alex Canjura. Erika Perez and Oswaldo Flores each received 16 months in county jail.

Attorney Tanmay Mistry, who was associated with Safe Haven, was disbarred after being accused of 13 counts of professional misconduct. If you read the California State Bar’s notes on Mistry’s disbarment, you will learn more details about his involvement with Safe Haven.

Read the original article in the Whittier Daily News.

 

Five Real Estate Investors Indicted for Bid Rigging at Foreclosure Auctions

December 10th, 2014 at 8:20am

Five more real estate investors have been indicted on nine counts of fraud and illegally rigging bids at foreclosure auctions in Contra Costa County.

U.S. Department of Justice officials say that John Michael Galloway, Nicholas Diaz, Glenn Guillory, Thomas Joyce, and Charles Rock conspired to defraud mortgage holders and others by bid rigging at foreclosure auctions. As with other similar prosecution, the defendants are alleged to have made prior agreements to not bid against one another and to pay each other for not bidding on some of the properties that their fellow conspirators wanted.

Fifty people have already pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty in related cases; another 21 have been charged in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties.

Read the original article in CBS Local.

CFPB a Target of New Republican Majority

November 10th, 2014 at 7:45am

As a result of the election, Republicans have indicated that they want to curtail the power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and replace Richard Cordray, its head. If successful, this would be a huge step backwards for consumers who need the government to step-in and help when their banks and loan servicers are either unresponsive or commit fraud.

The CFPB was created in 2011 as part of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Read the article in DSNews.

Huntington Beach Man Gets 10 Year Prison Sentence for Foreclosure Rescue Scam

November 7th, 2014 at 7:57am

United States Attorney Benjamin Wagner announced that Jeremy Michael “Mike” Head, 34, of Huntington Beach, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for operating a national foreclosure rescue scam.

Head was found found guilty in May 2013 by a federal jury that was tried in front of United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller. In September, Judge Mueller sentenced Mike Head’s brother and co-defendant Charles Head, 40, to 35 years in prison.

According to prosecutors, Charles and Mike Head, without the knowledge of homeowners in distress, used straw buyers as substitutes on title for properties that had equity. The defendants then applied for mortgages to take whatever equity was available for the properties and shared it among themselves, netting in total over $15 million. The homeowners lost their equity and homes and their credit was severely damaged.

Here is what law enforcement and prosecutors had to say about Mike Head:

U.S. Attorney Wagner said: “Mike Head made a small fortune taking advantage of victims who looked to him for help. Instead of helping, he stole the last remaining equity in their homes, and many victims were evicted and left destitute. He will now go to prison and pay for his crimes. This office continues to vigorously prosecute multiple variations of mortgage fraud throughout our district.”

“The scheme Head and his co-conspirators devised preyed upon individuals when they were most vulnerable and lived in fear of imminent foreclosure. Despite promises to help their victims avoid foreclosure, many were financially devastated by the scheme,” said Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller of the Sacramento FBI. “The FBI is committed to thoroughly investigating complex mortgage fraud schemes, identifying all participants, and ensuring that those who have violated the trust of the American public face justice in federal court.”

“Today’s sentencing sends a clear message to those who commit mortgage fraud, the consequences can be severe,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas McMahon, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “The defendants in this case have hurt so many people and so many of our communities. This sentencing highlights IRS-CI’s commitment to hold accountable those involved in these types of crimes.”

Read the original article in the Imperial Valley News.

Target of Mortgage Scam Probe Caught Trying to Board Fly to Afghanistan

October 31st, 2014 at 6:58am

Knowing that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Santa Ana was considering filing criminal charges against her for falsely claiming to be an attorney and operating a mortgage prevention scam, 30-year-old Najia Jalan decided to buy a one-way ticket from LAX through Dubai to Afghanistan. But as she boarded, she found two special agents with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) waiting to arrest her on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Najia Jalan, who has previously been convicted of burglary, theft, possession of narcotics, obtaining money under false pretenses, also has used the aliases of Poh Yee Neo, Sarah Adams and Korina Taylor.

According to a complaint dated October 20 by the Treasury Department, Jalan allegedly used various consumer firms to fool distressed homeowners into paying her substantial fees.

Note: The real Poh Yee Neo is a licensed lawyer who works in Hong Kong and has no connection to Jalan.

Read the original article in OC Weekly.

Blaming the Computer Excuse May Cost Ocwen $100 million

October 30th, 2014 at 1:23pm

In the latest news to surface about Ocwen Financial committing servicing violations by backdating loan modification denial letters, Ocwen’s executive chairman said the company is setting aside $100 million to settle with Benjamin Lawsky, the superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services.

Executive Chairman Bill Erbey told analysts on an October 30 conference call that the $100 million was Ocwen’s “best estimate of the exposure,” after Lawsky identified 6,100 borrowers who received the backdated letters. Ocwen, which weakly tried to blame the letters on “the computer,” has known about the problem for over a year, when one of its own employees informed executives and an internal monitor about them.

The settlement, according to Michael Bourque, Ocwen’s executive vice president and CFO, could be even higher.

Ocwen is in a hurry to put the matter in its rearview mirror because it’s preventing the company from completing its purchase of $39 billion in mortgage servicing rights from Wells Fargo.

Read the original article in National Mortgage News.

© Copyright 2007-2015 Monique Bryher

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The information and notices contained on The California Real Estate Fraud Report are intended to summarize recent developments in real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, short sale fraud, REO fraud, appraisal fraud, loan modification scams, loan modification fraud and other real estate related crimes occurring in Los Angeles and California. The posts on this site are presented as general research and information and are expressly not intended, and should not be regarded, as legal advice. Much of the information on this site concerns allegations made in civil lawsuits and in criminal indictments. All persons are presumed innocent until convicted of a crime. Readers who have particular questions about real estate fraud, mortgage fraud and appraisal fraud matters or who believe they require legal counsel should seek the advice of an attorney.

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