California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Loan Modification Fraud' Category

Garden Grove Man Charged with Operating Fraudulent Loan Modification Company

August 15th, 2014 at 10:56am

Duy Khac Nguyen, 34, Garden Grove, has been charged with 37 felony counts of grand theft, five felony counts of theft from elder, including a sentencing enhancement for property loss over $65,000. The charges involve 42 alleged victims and $92,000 of their money in a loan modification fraud case.

The scheme Nguyen is alleged to have run operated only between February and July 2010. His loan modification company was called HAMP Resources, which he is accused of claiming falsely of having an association with the federal government’s HAMP program. Instead of offering loan modification services, prosecutors allege that Nguyen deposited the money from homeowners into his personal bank account and then moving out of the area.

He was apprehended  by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department with assistance from the Garden Grove Police Department after United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) received complaints. USPIS along with the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIG-TARP) conducted the investigation.

“Nguyen is charged on 42 counts with swindling struggling homeowners, including the elderly, by falsely claiming that his company ‘HAMP Resources’ was part of the federal government,” said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for SIGTARP. “He allegedly sold a money-backed guaranteed service to lower homeowners’ mortgage payments and interest rates under TARP’s housing program known as HAMP. He is alleged to have taken the money from his victims, without providing any service, then disconnecting his phone and shutting down his mailbox, website, and bank account while some of his victims lost their homes to foreclosure. SIGTARP and our law enforcement partners will aggressively investigate allegations of crime related to TARP.”

Loan modification scams are proliferating at a rapid pace,” said B. Bernard Ferguson, Inspector in Charge of the USPIS – Los Angeles Division. “The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is continuing to investigate and will pursue such criminal activity when the nation’s mail system is used for illegal or dangerous use.”

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

Read the Press Release for this case.

Guilty Pleas in Santa Barbara County Loan Modification Prosecution

August 15th, 2014 at 10:39am

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced guilty pleas in a case where the defendants promised to obtain loan modifications for struggling homeowners.

Ismael Cancinos, age 56, of Palmdale, CA pleaded guilty to 34 felony counts that included charges of first degree residential burglary, grand theft and fraudulent practices of a foreclosure consultant. Mercedes Alvarez, age 48 of Palmdale, CA, pleaded guilty to 7 felony charges that included fraudulent practices of a foreclosure consultant. She also admitted the special allegation of committing an aggravated white collar crime. They were ordered to pay full restitution to their victims and Mercedes Alvarez has been ordered to surrender her real estate license.

Read the original article in Santa Barbar Edhat.

Three People Charged in SoCal Short Sale Fraud Case

August 15th, 2014 at 10:28am

A common short sale scheme with a twist may land three people in a lot of trouble.

Prosecutors said Nelly Luz Rubiano, 57, of Ojai, and Orange County residents Sergio Sanchez Santibanez, 32, and Alejandra Rodriguez, 31, allegedly operated a foreclosure rescue program that may have incorporated short sale fraud into the business model.

The three worked for Foreclosure Legal Services in the city of Orange and were arrested on allegations they charged homeowners in distress upfront fees, which are illegal in California. They were alleged to have promised the homeowners to save their homes by offering to buy the homes in a short sale and then re-selling the properties to those homeowners at a discounted market value, courtesy of the lenders.

Prosecutors said that from 2011 to 2012, Rubiano, Santibanez and Rodriguez lured struggling homeowners in Ventura County with a promise to save their homes that were undergoing foreclosure. The three allegedly promised to buy the distressed properties in a short sale and said they would then sell the properties back to the homeowners at a reduced market value, prosecutors said.

Read the original article in the Ventura County Star.

U.S. Attorney Charges 3 Men in $18.5 Million Mortgage Modification Scheme

August 8th, 2014 at 9:17am

In an announcement made by Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), and Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, three men have been arrested and charged in relation to what may be one of the largest mortgage modification schemes ever committed.

Charged with one count each of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud are Ped Abghari, aka “Ted Allen”, 37, of Irvine, California; Dionysius Fiumano, aka “D”, 43, of Irvine, California; and Justin Romano, 40, of Blue Point, New York. The three are alleged to have taken up to $18.5 million from over 8,000 financially distressed homeowners in all 50 states by falsely promising them pre-approval for lower payments through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and aggressive legal representation.

“This was all a purported ruse used to trick vulnerable homeowners into paying the defendants thousands of dollars in up-front fees for which zero meaningful work was ever actually done,” Romero said. “SIGTARP has aggressively pursued these allegations, working closely with Preet Bharara’s office, to protect homeowners in New York and across our nation from becoming victims of this crime and to bring perpetrators to justice.”

Read the original article in DSNews.

In David vs. Goliath, Homeowner Awarded $16 Million in Mortgage Modification Fraud Case

July 31st, 2014 at 1:32pm

Phillip Linza, a Plumas Lakes man who claimed that PHH Mortgage never corrected a mistake in the modification to his home loan, has won a major settlement that is certain to get the attention of attorneys representing similar homeowners.

A Yuba County Superior Court jury awarded Linza $513,902 in damages and $15.7 million in punitive damages against PHH.

United Law Center attorney Andre Chernay said PHH Mortgage, despite repeated attempts by Linza to reach them, never explained why they raised his mortgage to $2,300 per month after first lowering it to $1,530.

“It’s a classic case of David v. Goliath,” according to Jon Oldenburg, Managing Attorney and partner at United Law Center. “No one thought the banks could be beaten. This award is a huge step in the right direction to help us continue to punish the banks for violations against millions of California homeowners.”

Read the original article in News10.net.

“Keeping My Property” Owner Charged with Defrauding Contra Costa Homeowners

June 20th, 2014 at 8:37am

Marc Stanley Cooper, 60, has been charged by the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office with 21 counts of elder financial abuse, foreclosure fraud and grand theft.

Prosecutors said Cooper solicited homeowners in distress for money to negotiate a reduction in their mortgages but did not do so, instead defrauding the 15 homeowners.

“He is an experienced con man who promised individuals who were suffering with overly large mortgages that he could reduce their mortgages as well as modify their loans,” said Deputy District Attorney Ken McCormick, of the District Attorney’s real estate fraud unit. “In reality, he was embezzling and defrauding them.”

Read the original article in the Mercury News.

Camarillo Woman Sentenced to Prison for Mortgage Fraud

June 19th, 2014 at 11:32am

United States District Court Judge John A. Kronstadt sentenced Rosa Fernandez, 38, of Camarillo, to 97 months in federal prison for the role she played in defrauding banks by falsifying applications by borrowers.

After being arrested in 2010 and charged along with nine other persons, Fernandez pleaded guilty in February 2012 to three counts of bank fraud. Shockingly, while awaiting sentencing, Fernandez defrauded a lender on one of her own properties while attempting a loan modification, for which she later pleaded guilty.

As part of her punishment, Rosa Fernandez must pay restitution to the banks of $3,646,485.

This large mortgage fraud scheme was investigated by numerous local and federal agencies, as follows: the FBI Ventura Resident Agency and the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Housing and Finance Administration-Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. Secret Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Read the original article in the Imperial Valley News.

Petaluma Owners of Mortgage Modifiers Appear in Bankruptcy Court

June 6th, 2014 at 8:21am

Miguel Angel Lopez-Soleta and his wife, Heidi Beth Marks-Lopez have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy following a criminal investigation into Lopez-Soleta’s firm Mortgage Modifiers, Inc.

Mortgage Modifiers claimed to help homeowners who were underwater to save their homes by restructuring their debt. But at the hearing, dozens of Lope-Soleta’s creditors accused him of taking thousands of dollars from them and failing to follow through with lenders, causing them to lose their homes or drop deeper into debt.

Calling Lopez-Soleta and Mars-Lopez “Hey, snake!” “Hey slime ball!”, the creditors and their attorneys claimed that the couple stole their money, and instead of using to help them as promised, financed a life of luxury, including expensive vacations, jewelry and other extravagant purchases.

Read the original article in the Press Democrat.

San Bernardino DA Looking for Victims in Alleged Loan Modification Fraud

December 17th, 2013 at 8:53am

According to an article in the Victorville Daily Press, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office has put the word out to locate possible victims of an alleged loan modification fraud.

The DA’s office served search warrants Wednesday on five separate locations in Orange and San Bernardino counties involving the Siringoringo Law Firm and Clausen & Cobb Management Co. Inc.

Attorney Stephen Siringoringo and his wife, Kendi Smith-Siringoringo, were arrested for possession of 445 grams of marijuana packaged for sales after the marijuana was found during the searches.

If you are a homeowner living in the county and believe you have been the victim of a loan modification scam carried out by the Siringoringo Law Firm, call the District Attorney’s office Real Estate Fraud Division at 909-891-3519.

Orange County Attorney Arrested in Mortgage Modification Case

December 5th, 2013 at 10:19pm

An attorney who resigned from the California State Bar in 2009 has been the third defendant arrested in a federal indictment in which he and other are accused of operating a mortgage modification scam.

Ronald Rodis, 49, of Irvine, surrendered on the charges that he “participated in, and lent his name and the law license he formerly possessed to, the fraudulent operation,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Bryan D’Antonio, 47, of Brea, and Charles Wayne Farris, 53, of Aliso Viejo were arrested on December 3.

According to the indictment, Ronald Rodis lent his name to the Rodis Law Group, which later became America’s Law Group. Both firms advertised their loan modification services on radio, with Rodis speaking on some of the commercials.

Further, the indictment alleges that “Farris and D’Antonio hired and trained salespeople who allegedly told homeowners that Rodis Law Group was ’100% successful,’ ‘routinely lowered monthly payments,’ and obtained reduced principal balances. According to the indictment, once the defendants and their co-conspirators convinced homeowners to pay a fee of several thousand dollars, little to no effort was made to obtain loan modifications. After making their payments, homeowners who tried to get updates on the status of their cases were often unable to contact anyone at either company.”

Worse for D’Antonio is that he is facing these charges after previously being convicted of mail fraud and wire fraud in 2003 and being banned from engaging in telemarketing.

All told, the U.S. Attorney alleges that the homeowners lost $12 million to the defendants and many subsequently lost their homes to foreclosure.

Read the original article in Courthouse News.

© Copyright 2007-2014 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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