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, March 20, 2017
Federal Jury Slams Foreclosure Relief Scammer Who Ran Bogus Loan Elimination Scheme; Defendant Pocketed Hefty Upfront Fees, Monthly Payments In Exchange For False Promises That Victimized Homeowners Could Wipe Out Unpaid Mortgages, Own Their Homes "Free & Clear"
From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Fresno, California):
After a four-day trial, a federal jury found Martin Calzada, 29, of Norwalk, guilty today [March 10] of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and eight counts of mail fraud affecting a financial institution, [...]. The trial was held before United States Chief District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill.
According to evidence presented at trial, Calzada conspired to defraud homeowners facing foreclosure. Calzada and other employees of Star Reliable Mortgage, which had offices in Bakersfield, Visalia, and Salinas, targeted distressed homeowners with a fraudulent “loan elimination” scheme.
Between approximately August 2010 and October 2011, Star Reliable charged clients an upfront fee for its services – ranging from $2,500 up to $4,500 – as well as monthly fees, based on false promises that the clients could own their homes “free and clear” as a result of Star Reliable’s services. Clients paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Star Reliable and at least $300,000 was transferred from Star Reliable into Calzada’s bank accounts.
In furtherance of the scheme, Calzada and other employees at Star Reliable filed at county recorders’ offices fraudulent documents on behalf of the homeowner-clients, which purported to replace the legitimate property trustees with fictitious trusts affiliated with the defendant and Star Reliable, all in an effort to “cloud title” and halt or stall the foreclosure process.
Additionally, Calzada, and other employees working at his direction told Star Reliable clients to stop paying their mortgages. They also falsely represented that Star Reliable clients had one million dollars in a U.S. government account that could be used to pay-off a homeowner’s mortgage.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Tulare County District Attorney’s 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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