Westchester County Clerk Joins Chorus With Warning Against Foreclosure Rescue Scams
Welcome to The Home Equity Theft Reporter, a blog dedicated to informing the consumer public and the legal profession about Home Equity Theft issues. This blog will consist of information describing the various forms of Home Equity Theft and links to news reports & other informational sources from throughout the country about the victims of Home Equity Theft and what government authorities and others are doing about it.
For more, see Nevada bills aimed at regulating mortgage industry.
Go here for for Nevada's Pending Legislation AB440 (specifically see Sections 7 through 20 of the bill) to see the anti home equity theft provisions of the statute that Nevada lawmakers are considering passing into law..
For a prior story on this case, see Condo board's stance against mezuzah is totally meshuganeh (no longer available online).
Go here for other posts on this foreclosure rescue scam.
To read more, see Reasons to beware of 'We Buy Homes'.
The new study, by the nonprofit Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP), also contains the expectation that, based on the rate current of NYC foreclosure filings, over 15,000 foreclosure filings are expected this year, more than double the total two years ago. To read more, see Set up for a fall (Subprime mortgages lead to record foreclosures in the city's poorest nabes).
It sounds like New York State regulators are going to have their hands full enforcing the state's Home Equity Theft Prevention Act, which was signed into law last year and went into effect on February 1, 2007. Maybe regulators should consider organizing some type of "undercover sting" to catch those who both prey on homeowners facing foreclosure and violate the new law in the process.
While I know of no state that conducts undercover stings in connection with enforcing their anti home equity theft statutes, I do know that for some time now, the State of California, through their Contractors State License Board, periodically conducts these stings throughout the entire state (in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies) as an effective tool in the enforcement of their home improvement contractor licensing law. See, for example:
The local media and organizations like the Better Business Bureau may also be of some help. See, for example, Business bureau's TV show takes on contractor fraud, an article appearing on the San Diego Union Tibune's SignOnSanDiego.com website, which reports on a 30 minute educational documentary produced by the San Diego Better Business Bureau (and which aired on local San Diego TV stations) geared to inform consumers on protecting themselves from contractor fraud.
The program chronicled the experience of more than 20 San Diego-area families scammed by one smooth-talking swimming pool contractor and included footage of shoddy workmanship and unfinished jobs, as well as sound bites from Better Business Bureau and law enforcement officials involved in the undercover investigation.
In conclusion, and while on the subject of undercover investigations, I have recently reported on the NBC Dateline program, which recently began airing a new series, Dateline: To Catch An I.D. Thief, which is the product of a one year undercover investigation on identity theft. See Dateline NBC Going After Identity Theft.
It may be that making a case for violating the anti home equity theft statutes could be tougher and more expensive than enforcing state licensing laws against unlicensed contractors. But with home foreclosures being the current problem that it is, high profile undercover stings may be an effective deterrent both to those violating the anti home equity theft statutes as well as to those thinking about it. Since the State of California has an established track record of regularly conducting undercover stings in enforcing their home improvement contractor statutes, and because the state Attorney General's office has recently announced that they are keeping an eye on foreclosure rescue activity (see California AG Closely Watching Foreclosure Rescue Activity), I have to make them the strong favorite to be the first state in the U.S. to conduct these stings in enforcing the California anti home equity theft statutes.
However, if New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg decides to get involved, possibly by exercising his influence with state govenment and with the local NYC district attorneys, or possibly by offering his cooperation to state regulators by making the services of NYC Police Department economic crimes investigators available in possible joint investigations throughout the city with state regulators and/or investigators from the local NYC DAs and state Attorney General's office, I might have to reconsider my position.
The others include Azem Limani, Dzevid Limani and Agim Delolli.
Sentencing of the straw buyers has been postponed pending the outcome of the prosecution against the remaining defendants (my guess is prosecutors would like to see how effectively the straw buyers testify against their alleged confederates before recommending to the judge how hard they should be "spanked"). For more, see 3 plead guilty to Anchorage fraud (Mortgage Crime: Prosecutors say four others are part of the loan ring).
For story updates, see: