Evelyn Rodriguez, also known as Eblin Balver, is charged with 17 criminal counts of a false foreclosure rescue and loan modification scam that targeted Spanish-speaking homeowners. Rodriguez was allegedly purporting to do business on behalf of the L.A. County Justice Center and Time Legal Services. She is accused of enticing at least eight homeowners to pay her large advance fees and monthly fees ranging from $5,000 to $16,000 in order to save their homes from foreclosure, according to the City Attorney's Office. The alleged victims are from Los Angeles, Long Beach, Montebello and Riverside County.
Rodriguez is also accused of telling the homeowners to stop communicating with their lenders and to stop making their credit card and mortgage payments and of promising some customers that she would obtain a loan modification for them, according to the City Attorney's Office. (bldwnpkptch121612)
Usually at the City Attorney level it is a misdemeanor. If so, she can be extremely lucky.
CALIFORNIA LOAN MOD COMPANY CLOSED BY CFPB
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has accused a Santa Ana loan modification shop of fraud and obtained a court order shutting it down. The agency said the defendants, Najia Jalan and Richard Nelson, and their company National Legal Help Center charged advance fees of $1,000 to $3,000, and in some cases close to $10,000, for loan modification services. This is a violation of both federal and state law.
A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order and appointed a temporary receiver the week of Dec. 3. The bureau said it believes the loan modification shop advertised in all 50 states.
The defendants operated 165 Web addresses, many of which mimicked federal housing relief programs. For example, the defendants operated a site at makinghomeaffordable.ca that was, until it was shut down by the recent court order, virtually identical to the government site at makinghomeaffordabl.gov, according to the lawsuit.
Early in 2012 they plastered the logo of the Office of Comptroller of Currency, one of the nation's top two banking regulators, on a mailer and stated that it was sent "at the direction of federal bank regulators." This prompted the OCC to issue a warning on its website on March 16 saying that National Legal Help "does not appear to be legitimate and is likely an 'up-front-fee' scam."
In some instances, the bureau said, the defendants told clients to stop talking with their lenders and to ignore foreclosure notices. Result: The clients were tossed from their homes while the loan modification experts did nothing. They also told consumers to stop paying their mortgage, the bureau said, without making the legally required disclosure that doing so could cost consumers their home and damage their credit rating.
The bureau is seeking a permanent court order as well as fines and restitution. (ocreg12412)
What is surprising and lucky for the defendants is that the case did not go criminal. Falsely displaying a government symbol as your own is a federal offense. You will also note that CFPB is chasing mortgage brokers now quite actively.
THREE FROM CALIFORNIA SENTENCED FOR MORTGAGE FRAUD
On Dec. 17, three men who participated in a complex mortgage fraud scheme operated out of Santa Maria, Calif., were sentenced to federal prison terms and ordered to pay $2.4 million in restitution to various lenders that suffered losses as a result of having funded loans procured through fraud.
Brian Armet was sentenced to one year and one day in prison after pleading guilty in July 2011 to conspiring to defraud lenders by preparing loans packages that contained false information about prospective borrowers’ employment and assets.
Rigoberto Hernandez got eight months and Julio Tamayo got six months.
The three men were sentenced by United States District Judge John F. Walter, who ordered the defendants to pay $2,412,294 in restitution to four lending victims.
The fraudulent mortgage fraud scheme operated through Custom House Home Loans, a Santa Maria real estate mortgage company that Armet started in early 2006. Armet was a licensed mortgage broker and the main loan officer at CHHL, where he prepared and submitted loan application packages. Hernandez and Tamayo worked at CHHL and helped prepare loans applications by obtaining information from clients.
In instances where the information was insufficient to ensure that a client would qualify for a loan, Armet, Tamayo, and Hernandez arranged with employers in the Santa Maria area to verify that they employed the applicant. Armet included the false and fraudulent employment information in loan applications that were submitted to lenders, including Homecoming Financial, Freddie Mac, Bank of America, and Carrington Mortgage Company. Lenders relied on these fraudulent loan applications that contained false information to fund loans. As a result of this fraud, approximately 19 loans went into default, causing lenders to suffer approximately $2.4 million in losses. (usattycacd121712)
California seems to be rather busy with mortgage fraud. Anyone need an attorney?
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