October 21st, 2016 at 6:40am
Moses S. Hall, 60, a resident of Blackwood, New Jersey, has been arrested on federal charges of operating a mortgage modification scheme that defrauded more than 75 distressed homeowners in Orange County. Hall, who formerly had a law practice in Fullerton before he was disbarred in 2012, is being accused of inducing those homeowner to pay him for over $1.4 million in services that he allegedly never provided. The indictment is for 16 counts of fraud and tax offenses.
Among other claims, the indictment alleges Hall concealed from victims that he was using their money to pay for personal expenses and that he was a previously convicted felon who had served time in state prison in New Jersey prior to being admitted as an attorney in California. He told homeowners in distress to cease making their monthly mortgage payments and instead send the money to him for the purpose of negotiating with lenders. Some later lost their homes to foreclosure.
The charges stem from a probe by IRS Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Secret Service. The Office of Chief Trial Counsel for the State Bar of California also provided assistance with the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles E. Pell.
Read the press release on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website and the OC Register.
October 13th, 2016 at 9:32am
Nancy Russell Kempis, 64, of Santa Clara, has been sentenced for more than six-months in jail for scamming a family out of their home and defrauding four banks.
The former real estate agent convinced the family to sell her their home at a “dramatically reduced price” in order to avoid foreclosure. She rented them the home and promised to return it. Instead, she secured a number of fraudulent mortgages, sucking all the equity out of the house and defaulting between 2006 and 2009. The home was then lost to foreclosure and the family evicted.
Kempis’ scam cost lenders $750,000.
Kempis eventually fled to New York, went into hiding under the false name Morpheus Daw Pud Ko and helped run a women’s ministry.
“Ms. Kempis scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars and drove a family into homelessness,” Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Charles Huang said in a statement.
Read the original article in KRON4.com
September 30th, 2016 at 7:46am
Victims of a Petaluma real estate agent whom prosecutors ripping off at least 100 persons in the Bay Area in an alleged mortgage fraud scam are outraged at the terms of his settlement with state prosecutors.
Miguel Angel Lopez-Soleta, 44, pleaded no contest to felony grand theft and embezzlement from an elderly person through his Rohnert Park business, Mortgage Modifiers, in 2012.
Lopez-Soleta will only serve one year in jail and receive five years of probation.
According to former client Robert Gillis, whose mother lost her Novato home to foreclosure because of Lopez-Soleta, “It’s totally unacceptable. None of the victims agree with it. They are so upset.”
Caroline S. Chen, the deputy attorney general handling the case for Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, did not return a call Thursday seeking comment.
The only good bit of news is that the real estate license of Miguel Angel Lopez-Soleta has been revoked by the California Bureau of Real Estate.
Read the full article in the Press Democrat.
September 2nd, 2016 at 10:47am
Two Orange County men from have been sentenced for their involvement in a mortgage loan scheme that was nationwide
Serj Geutssoyan, aka Anthony Kirk, 32, of Santa Ana, was sentenced to 52 months in prison. His co-defendant Daniel Shiau, aka Scott Decker, 30, of Irvine, received a 58 month sentence.
Along with five other persons who were charged, Geutssoyan and Schiau illegally charged upfront fees of $2,500 to $4,300 to provide loan modifications and debt relief services to homeowners. Over 1,000 homeowners were affected who were duped out of over $3 million.
A third defendant, Aria Maleki, was sentenced to 112 months back in January. The remaining four defendants also pleaded guilty but have not yet been sentenced.
Read the original article in NBC Connecticut.
September 2nd, 2016 at 10:34am
Long Beach pastor Karl Robinson, 52, has pleaded guilty to one count of bankruptcy fraud.
According to the press release by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, Robinson would stall the evictions of homeowners who had been foreclosed on by filing fraudulent documents, including phony bankruptcy petitions. For this, he charged the homeowners almost $3 million.
“This defendant filed scores of fraudulent bankruptcy actions — sometimes on multiple occasions in relation to a single property,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement. “He took advantage of distressed homeowners by stealing identities and lying to them about what he could do for their properties as long as they continued to pay his fees.”
You can read another article about Pastor Robinson’s mortgage fraud in the Long Beach Press Telegram.
August 10th, 2016 at 2:07pm
Bryan D’Antonio, 50, is the last of three co-defendants to confess to a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in a telemarketing scheme that ran from October 2008 and June 2009 and defrauded over 1,500 people out of about $9 million, according to a statement from Eileen Decker, the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.
D’Antonio was described by authorities as the owner and operator of the Rodis Law Group, aka America’s Law Group. His fellow defendants Charles Wayne Farris and Ronald Rodis have already pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Prosecutors said Rodis Law Group and America’s Law Group found their victims by placing radio advertisements claiming to negotiate lower-interest rates or principal balances by using their team of attorneys, when only Ronald Rodis was an attorney.
Read the original article in the OC Register. There a number of articles about this case that can be found by searching the California Real Estate Fraud Report.
July 29th, 2016 at 10:56am
Aria Maleki, 33 years old, a Santa Ana resident, has been sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty in a Bridgeport, Connecticut federal court to a mortgage loan modification scheme that defrauded homeowners across the country.
Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly said that Maleki and other persons ran a series of California-based companies that promised home mortgage loan modifications and other debt relief services and charged them upfront fees ranging from approximately $2,500 to $4,300. Charging advance fees is illegal for these services in California.
Read the original article in MortgageOrb.
July 28th, 2016 at 5:33am
Aliso Viejo resident Charles Wayne Farris, 55, has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges for his role as a sales manager in a mortgage modification fraud case that cost 1,500 people almost $9 million.
Farris’ co-conspirator, former attorney Ronald Rodis, had previously pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. A third defendant, Bryan D’Antonio, still awaits his turn at trial for nine counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to prosecutors, both Rodis Law Group and America’s Law Group used nationwide radio advertisements to portray themselves as a team of experienced attorneys that could negotiated lower-interests rates or principal balances.
“The defendants in this case preyed upon vulnerable homeowners facing the loss of their home and callously took advantage of what hope they had left,” said Deirdre L. Fike, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, in a statement last week.
Read the original article in the OC Register.
July 28th, 2016 at 5:19am
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge granted default judgment against two married recidivists in Los Angeles who ran half a dozen phony debt relief businesses, including mortgage rescue, and ordered them to disgorge $2.3 million and other frozen assets.
The Federal Trade Commission settled with Tobias West and Komal West and their companies in May. The July 12 order from U.S. District Judge Otis Wright also bars the Wests and their companies from “representing the benefits or performance of a product or service unless it is not misleading and based on evidence,” and prohibits them from “profiting from consumers’ personal information and failing to dispose of it properly.”
The Wests and their companies, including Good EBusiness, Student Loan Help Direct, Select Student Loan, Select Student Loan Help, and Select Document Preparation charged up to $5,000 a pop for bogus student and home loan relief services, the FTC said in its sealed complaint in February. It said the Komals violated federal laws by “preying on financially struggling consumers and promising to make their mortgage or student loan payments substantially lower by renegotiating with their lender — but without ever having any intention of actually doing so.” the FTC claimed.
If they did bother to do anything, the Wests and their companies often posed as their clients and entered into forbearance deals with lenders, without telling the clients they did so, or that they would be on the hook for interest payments that for many clients totaled thousands of dollars, according to the FTC.
Read the entire article in Courthouse News and the Federal Trade Commission.
July 22nd, 2016 at 5:07am
The U.S. Department of Justice announced that Orange County, California, resident Charles Wayne Farris has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California, for his role as the sales manager of a multi-million dollar fraudulent mortgage modification scheme.
Farris, 55, of Aliso Viejo, California, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter for the Central District of California to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for his crimes, which occurred between October 2008 and June 2009.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said “This defendant supervised dozens of telemarketers who used lies and false promises to take money from struggling homeowners for a worthless service. We will continue to prosecute all kinds of mass-marketing and telemarketing fraud schemes, especially those that prey on vulnerable victims.”
Added U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker of the Central District of California, “This defendant managed an entire team of people whose sole job was to lure struggling home owners into the fraud scheme. It is because of Mr. Farris that so many people were victimized for so much money.”
Farris acknowledged that he participated in a scheme that sought to convince homeowners to pay between $3,500 and $5,500 for the services of the Rodis Law Group (RLG) and a successor entity, America’s Law Group (ALG). RLG and ALG