Welcome to The Home Equity Theft Reporter, a blog dedicated to informing the consumer public and the legal profession about Home Equity Theft issues. This blog will consist of information describing the various forms of Home Equity Theft and links to news reports & other informational sources from throughout the country about the victims of Home Equity Theft and what government authorities and others are doing about it.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Affinity Racket Operator Who Primarily Targeted Financially Distressed Homeowners Of Vietnamese Ancestry For Loan Modification, Mortgage Debt Elimination Ripoffs Gets 57 Months In Federal Prison
From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Santa Ana, California):
Orange County man who deceived distressed homeowners with false promises that he could help them avoid foreclosure by obtaining modifications to their mortgages – or even completely eliminating their loans – was sentenced today [February 9] to 57 months in federal prison.
Antonio Marquette, who went by "Alan Le" and "Anthony Le," 56, of Midway City, was sentenced and ordered to repay $875,000 to victims by United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford.
Marquette was found guilty in September of nine counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering. After the federal jury returned its verdicts, Judge Guilford remanded Marquette into custody.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Marquette operated Bolsa Marketing Group in Garden Grove in 2010 and 2011 and charged homeowners up to $100,000 in cash for services that the homeowners did not receive. Through Bolsa Marketing, Marquette ran a scheme that targeted distressed homeowners – most of whom were members of Vietnamese communities in Southern California, the Bay Area and Houston – and induced them to pay large up-front fees to obtain mortgage relief services.
"This defendant preyed upon vulnerable homeowners desperately trying to avoid foreclosure of their homes," said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. "He used false promises to extract significant fees from his victims, but he provided nothing in return."
The evidence showed that Marquette operated the scheme by "falsely promising homeowners mortgage loan modifications that would substantially reduce their mortgage payments, avoid foreclosure, or eliminate their mortgage loans entirely." The government contended at sentencing that Marquette took in more than $1.5 million from victim-homeowners.
As part of the scheme, Marquette made various promises to homeowners, including making guarantees that he could reduce their outstanding debt to 25 percent of the loan balance in only four months. Marquette also sent fraudulent checks to "pay off" mortgages and filed bogus documents with county recorders’ offices, according to court documents.
"Vulnerable homeowners are targeted by affinity schemes such as the one operated by Mr. Marquette, who made false promises via radio advertisements, a tactic which tends to add a veneer of legitimacy to any scheme," said Deirdre Fike, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
CBC News: Betrayal of Trust (A CBC investigation reveals how lawyers across Canada have misappropriated and mishandled clients money, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, or sometimes even charging vulnerable people top dollar for shoddy services)
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