Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Michigan AG Slams Attorney w/ 30 Felony False Pretenses, Racketeering Counts For Allegedly Clipping 100+ Foreclosure-Facing Homeowners Out Of Thousand$ For Loan Mod Promises; Cash/Surety Bond For Lawyer Set At $1M

From the Office of the Michigan Attorney General:
  • Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette [] announced that his Homeowner Protection Unit has filed thirty felony charges including Racketeering against attorney Steven Barry Ruza, 52, of Orchard Lake and his company, Home Legal Group, Inc., for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Michigan victims that were facing mortgage foreclosures. The charges were filed following an Attorney General investigation.

    ***

    Ruza and Home Legal Group allegedly promised victims that they could obtain mortgage modifications and save their homes from foreclosure but then did nothing, or very little, to obtain mortgage modifications for the victims. The victims never received a modification through Ruza and Home Legal Group and most lost their homes to foreclosure.

    Schuette filed the following charges on May 22, 2015 against Ruza and Home Legal Group PLLC in Oakland County’s 48th District Court:

    .... Twenty-six counts of obtaining money through false pretenses (making false statements to consumers), a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine;
    .... Two counts of attempted false pretenses over $20,000 but less than $50,000, a felony punishable by five years’ imprisonment;
    .... One count of attempted false pretenses of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000, punishable by up to five years in prison, and;
    .... One count of Racketeering, a felony punishable by 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.

    The Racketeering count includes an additional 114 victims for whom Schuette alleges were defrauded.

    Ruza and his company were arraigned [...] on Friday, May 22. Bond was set at $1 million cash/surety for Ruza and $500,000 cash/surety for Home Legal Group. Ruza’s next court appearances include a conference on June 4, 2015 and the preliminary examination set for June 11, 2015. Both appearance will be before Judge Marc Barron.

    Foreclosure Rescue Scam Victim Restitution Fund

    In August 2013 Schuette announced the launch of a $7.5 million Foreclosure Rescue Scam Victim Restitution fund as a part of the Homeowner Protection Fund monies received by the State of Michigan to resolve the National Mortgage Settlement. This program is intended to provide restitution payments for victims of foreclosure scams who would otherwise never see a penny of court-ordered restitution. To date over $2.2 million has been paid to Michigan victims of mortgage related crimes.

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