Thursday, November 10, 2016

Two Low-Level Telemarketing Salespeople Each Get 18 Months For Roles In Peddling Loan Modification Ripoff; Scam Fleeced Over 1,000 Homeowners Out Of $3+ Million

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Bridgeport, Connecticut):
  • Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that KOWIT YUKTANON, also known as “Eric Cannon” and “Aaron Brock,” 32, of Huntington Beach, Calif., and CUONG HUY KING, also known as “James Nolan” and “Jimmy, 32, of Westminster, Calif., have each been sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to 18 months of imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, for participating in an extensive mortgage loan modification scheme. [...] Judge Underhill also ordered both defendants to pay restitution in the amount of $2,390,496.59.
    ***
    Aria Maleki presided over the entire structure of this scheme, and YUKTANON and KING were junior members of the sales team. Acting as representatives of [various] entities, YUKTANON, KING and others cold-called homeowners and offered to provide mortgage loan modification services to those who were having difficulty repaying their home mortgage loans.

    The defendants charged homeowners fees that typically ranged from approximately $2,500 to $4,300 for their services. To induce homeowners to pay these fees, the defendants falsely represented that the homeowners already had been approved for mortgage loan modifications on extremely favorable terms; the mortgage loan modifications already had been negotiated with the homeowners’ lenders; the homeowners qualified for and would receive financial assistance under various government mortgage relief programs, including the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the Home Affordable Modification Program; and if for some reason the mortgage loan modifications fell through, the homeowners would be entitled to a full refund of their fees.
    ***
    As a result of this scheme, more than 1,000 homeowners suffered losses totaling more than $3 million. [...] YUKATANON and KING each pleaded guilty to one count of misprision of a felony.

    Maleki pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and, on July 18, 2016, he was sentenced to 112 months of imprisonment. He also forfeited approximately $350,000 that investigators seized from various bank accounts, approximately $362,000 sized from a Bitcoin account, a $100,000 cashier’s check, and a 2013 Ferrari 458 Italia.
Source: Two California Men Sentenced to Prison in Connection with Scheme to Defraud Struggling Homeowners.

In a related prosecution involving this racket, see California Woman Sentenced to Prison in Connection with Scheme to Defraud Struggling Homeowners:
  • [M]ICHELLE LEFAOSEU, also known as “Michelle Bennett,” “Michelle Lee” and “Michelle Page,” 42, of Huntington Beach, Calif., was sentenced [...] to 12 months and one day of imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, for participating in an extensive mortgage loan modification scheme.

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