Sunday, April 17, 2011

NC Man Pleads Guilty In Mortgage Fraud, Rent-Skimming Ripoff That Unloaded Builder's Inventory Onto Wanna-Be 'Rent-To-Own' Homebuyers w/ Crappy Credit

In Raleigh, North Carolina, WTVD-TV Channel 11 reports:
  • The suspected ring leader of a rent to own scam pleaded guilty to multiple charged Friday. ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson exposed the scam when it first happened more than a year ago. The multi-million dollar mortgage scheme ripped off Triangle residents and banks.
  • Douglas Scott Allen pleaded guilty Friday to five counts of obtaining property under false pretenses of more than $100,000. The charges relate to a rent-to-own scam with a company Allen owned called Saving Carolina. In all, investigators say the scheme happened throughout the Triangle and involved 16 houses that Saving Carolina found buyers for.
  • "There was an act of fraud to obtain the mortgage loan, specifically false verification of employment, false verification of income to entice the loan or banks or loan officers to approve the loan to allow the mortgage to be closed and property be purchased," the prosecutor told the court Friday.
  • Prosecutors say once Allen got the home financed, Saving Carolina would find renters and promise them the dream of home ownership through rent to own. "We don't have perfect credit; this was a program that helped people," victim Sherry Williams said. "We thought it was a great opportunity to own a house."
  • Saving Carolina put Williams in a Raleigh home and despite Williams making monthly rent payments to Saving Carolina; she received a foreclosure letter in the mail. She learned her rent payments weren't being made to the mortgage company. The bank foreclosed on the home she dreamed of owning and she was forced to move out. "It's heart breaking, it really is," Williams said. "The kids love it. We love it."

***

  • Despite the scheme being multi-million dollar, investigators say the people behind Saving Carolina didn't make all that money -- it was the banks that lost big. Prosecutors say Saving Carolina made money by getting kickbacks from builders whose houses they used and by collecting those rent payments.
  • A judge sentence Allen to a minimum of almost four years to a maximum of six years behind bars. Allen still has 11 charges pending in Durham relating to the rent to own deal. Besides Allen, three other have been convicted for their involvement.

For the story, see Suspected scam ring leader pleads guilty.

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