Thursday, October 20, 2016

Four Years After Being Disbarred, Criminal Charges Finally Brought Against Lawyer Who Allegedly Defrauded Dozens Out Of Over $1.4 Million In Loan Modification Ripoff; Defendant Accused Of Instructing Homeowners To Redirect Their Monthly House Payments To Him, Purportedly To Use In Negotiaitons With Lender

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Santa Ana, California):
  • A disbarred California attorney was arrested [] on federal charges of running a mortgage modification scheme that defrauded more than 75 distressed homeowners in Orange County by inducing them to pay more than $1.4 million for services he never provided.(1)

    Moses S. Hall, 60, a resident of Blackwood, New Jersey, who formerly had a law practice in Fullerton, was arrested without incident [] at his residence after being indicted this week on fraud and tax offenses.

    According to the 16-count indictment returned [] by a federal grand jury, Hall operated his mortgage modification scheme from 2008 until 2012 through his law offices, as well as businesses called “Salva Casas” and “Loan Modifications of America.” The indictment alleges that Hall told distressed homeowners to stop making their mortgage payments, and instead direct their monthly mortgage payments to him, purportedly so he could use that money to negotiate with the banks. Instead, as detailed in the indictment, Hall used the victims’ money for himself.

    The indictment alleges that Hall concealed from victims that he was using their money to pay for personal expenses and that he was a previously convicted felon who had served years in state prison in New Jersey prior to being admitted as an attorney in California.

    Over the course of the fraudulent scheme, more than 75 victims were cheated out of more than $1 million, and some subsequently lost their homes. One married couple entrusted Hall with $400,000 to help them modify their mortgages. According to the indictment, Hall spent that $400,000 on personal expenses in only six months. That couple subsequently lost their home to foreclosure.

    As further alleged in the indictment, Hall withdrew more than $1 million in cash from the bank accounts into which the victims’ payments had been deposited. Hall allegedly wrote checks to himself and his daughter, and used $25,000 cash to purchase a Mercedes Benz.

    “This defendant allegedly used his position as a licensed attorney to persuade victims that he could help them with their financial problems,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Instead of working for his clients, the defendant simply pocketed their money to fund an extravagant lifestyle. He has lost his license to practice law, and now he faces a significant prison term for the alleged crimes.”
    ***
    According to the California State Bar, Hall was disbarred in 2012 for “misconduct in three loan modification matters.”
For more, see Disbarred Attorney Indicted in Mortgage Modification Scheme (Victims Paid the Attorney Well Over $1 Million, Which He Allegedly Used for Personal Expenses and Never Reported as Income to IRS).
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(1) The California State Bar's Client Security Fund is a public service of the California legal profession. The State Bar sponsored the creation of this fund to help protect consumers of legal services by alleviating losses resulting from the dishonest conduct of attorneys. The amount the fund may reimburse for theft committed by a California lawyer depends on when the loss occurred. A maximum of $50,000 is reimbursable if the loss occurred before January 1, 2009. A maximum of $100,000 is reimbursable if the loss occurred on or after January 1, 2009.

For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that sometimes help cover the financial mess created by the dishonest conduct of lawyers licensed in other states and Canada, see:
Maps available courtesy of The National Client Protection Organization, Inc.

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