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.
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.
October 29th, 2014 at 8:37am
Mark Nagy Atalla, a defendant in an a 2013 action by the Federal Trade Commission, has been ordered by a federal district court in Southern California to pay almost $515,000. The FTC brought its complaint against Atalla, alleging that he and his two companies violated the FTC Act and the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule (also known as the MARS Rule or Regulation O) by promising to lower homeowners’ mortgage payments in exchange for change and advance fee that reached as high as $4,495.
“The court’s order in this case makes a very clear point,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “When you sign a settlement order with the Federal Trade Commission, you’d better be up-front about your assets. If you’re not, we won’t hesitate to collect suspended monetary judgments.”
Attala is also banned from future work in the debt relief and mortgage relief businesses.
Read the original article on the Federal Trade Commission website.
September 30th, 2014 at 10:32am
Four people have been sentenced to federal prison for scheming to victimizing homeowners in foreclosure.
U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb sentenced Jesse Wheeler, 37, of Roseville to three years; Jewel Hinkles, aka Cydney Sanchez, 64, of Los Angeles to five years; Cynthia Corn, 61, of Oakland to two and a half years; and Brent Medearis, 48, of Modesto to one year and 10 months in prison.
Evidence presented by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California showed that Jewel Hinkles was the founder and general manager of Horizon Property Holdings LLC in Beverly Hills. From 2008 through 2010, she offered programs called “Save My Home” or “Homesaver” that promised homeowners she would save their homes and reduce the principal on their mortgages (loan modifications scams).
Jesse Wheeler was one of Hinkles’ affiliates and his Roseville-based company, J.W. Financial Solutions, took in approximately $2,133,376 from more than 600 victims.
Prosecutors said the defendants promised the homeowners they would buy the homeowners’ mortgages at a discount in order to reduce the principal and monthly payments. To effect this, the defendants filed fraudulent deeds (title fraud) transferring an interest in the homeowner’s property to a fictitious entity called Pacifica Group 49/II.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee S. Bickley and Matthew D. Segal.
Read the original article in the Merced Sun-Star.
September 30th, 2014 at 7:49am
Banks that continue using stall tactics to prevent borrowers from refinancing their homes or getting loan modifications are now finding their dishonesty is very costly. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has just fined Michigan-based Flagstar $37.5 million for violating the new mortgage servicing rules.
Read the article in DSNews.
September 19th, 2014 at 7:33am
After a one-day bench trial on stipulated facts before U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley, Alan David Tikal was convicted on 11 counts of mail fraud and one count of money laundering in a mortgage fraud scheme.
Tikal ran a business called KATN, which promised homeowners in financial distress that he would lower their outstanding mortgage debt by 75%, thereby lowering their monthly mortgage payments. He falsely claimed to his victims that he was “a registered private banker with access to an enormous line of credit and the ability to pay off homeowners’ mortgages in full. Tikal told homeowners that in return for various fees and payments, their existing loans would be paid in full, and the homeowners would then owe new loans to Tikal that would be only 25 percent of the original loan.”
As the reader might suspect, none of the homeowners’ saw their mortgages paid, foregiven or reduced and because they were told to stop making their mortgage payments to their banks, many lost their homes to foreclosure. Of the $5.8 million Tikal collected, almost half went into his or his family’s accounts for their personal use.
Alan David Tikal‘s crimes were considered so extensive that he was prosecuted by both the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and the California Attorney General’s Office. His case was investigated by SIGTARP, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the California Department of Justice, and the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office.
September 12th, 2014 at 11:15am
Charles Head, 40, the former CEO of Head Financial Services, Creative Loans and other brokerage and financial companies, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to 35 years in prison for operating foreclosure rescue scams.
Instead of helping homeowners who came to him for help in avoiding foreclosure of their homes, Head substituted straw buyers on the victims’ property titles without their knowledge (title fraud). straw buyers then applied for mortgages and sucked out whatever equity existed. The victims lost their homes and suffered damage to their credit ratings.
According to prosecutors, Charles Head‘s foreclosure fraud began in Los Angeles and Orange Counties and then expanded to a nationwide operation. In all, he and his co-conspirators obtained over $90 million in loans, caused losses of over $50 million and stole the title to more than 300 homes. He was caught only because one of his victims in Sacramento contacted an FBI economic crimes agent on a complaint line.
Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.
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.
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.
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.