Friday, May 08, 2015

Nevada Judge Hammers Loan Modification Scam Artist With 8-20 Years In Slammer Over $11.5K Ripoff Of Handful Of Homeowners Facing Foreclosures

From the Office of the Nevada Attorney General:
  • Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced that Stephen Choate, 62, of Pahrump, was sentenced last week on a charge of a pattern of mortgage lending fraud. Choate ran a scam to defraud clients of $11,500 in fees under the guise that he would obtain loan modifications for them. He cheated homeowners between November 2010 and February 2012.

    “The Attorney General’s Office will prosecute those who aim to defraud homeowners,” said Laxalt. “Nevadans seeking assistance with their mortgages are urged to consult HUD-approved counselors. Under Nevada law, it is generally unlawful for a non-attorney to collect upfront fees for loan modification work before the homeowner signs a contract with their lender modifying the loan.”

    Fifth Judicial District Court Judge Robert Lane of Nye County listened to testimony of more than nine victims before imposing the sentence. Judge Lane sentenced Choate to a minimum of eight years and a maximum of 20 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay $11,500 in restitution, plus additional sums for monthly fraud protection and legal fees.
Source: Attorney General Laxalt Prosecutes Pahrump Man for Mortgage Lending Fraud.

For the criminal charges, see State of Nevada v. Choate.

Editor's Note: To compare the 8 to 20 year-sentence given by the state court judge for ripping off a handful of homeowners out of $11,500 in this case with the 12-year sentence handed out to an attorney by the federal judge in a case involving a loan modification conspiracy ripping off several thousand homeowners out of $13,000,000, see Attorney Who Used Boiler Room Racket Disguised As Sham Law Firm To Victimize Over 3,000 Homeowners In Loan Modification Ripoff Gets 12 Years In Federal Slammer; Cohort Gets 5 Years; Conviction Total Reaches 13 In 1st American Law Center Scheme.

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