Our economy continues to leave many homeowners nervous about meeting their mortgage obligations and fearing the loss of their home. Sadly, as both The Sacramento Bee and The Sacramento Business Journal reported this weekend, it appears that unscrupulous individuals have taken advantage of these tough times for their own financial gain. Alongside the criminal investigations of such deplorable tactics, Sacramento victims of bankruptcy fraud should reach out to experienced Northern California mortgage fraud lawyers for help recovering their financial loss.
In the case reported in both papers this weekend, a federal grand jury has indicted five people: Jesse Wheeler (34, Roseville), Bernadette Guidry (43, Irvine), Cynthia Corn (58, Oakland), Brent Medearis (45, Modesto) and Jewel Hinkels, also known as Cydney Sanchez (61, Los Angeles). Court filings cite a network of companies, including Horizon Property Holdings LLC and JW Financial Solutions, that purportedly offered to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and save their homes. The companies and individuals allegedly marketed their services to homeowners who were struggling to make scheduled mortgage payments on their homes. Authorities suggest the companies and individuals promised to negotiate mortgage sales or payment reductions that would help the distressed homeowners. Per the charges, the defendants did not deliver on these promises. The indictment also references fraudulent bankruptcy petitions filed by the accused that may have allowed them to collect more fees by prolonging the foreclosure process.
The motive for these crimes appears to have been financial. For the services they claimed to provide, the companies charged substantial upfront and monthly fees. Prosecutors suggest that more than 1,000 distressed homeowners were charged over $5 million in fraudulent fees.
At the Brod Law Firm, we are Sacramento victim’s rights attorneys. Our experience includes personal injury cases but we can also help victims of financial fraud in Sacramento and throughout Northern California. It is disturbing to see corrupt individuals taking advantage of our difficult economic times and preying on vulnerable residents of our area who are trying to meet their obligations and remain in their homes.
We urge homeowners to exercise caution to avoid falling victim to mortgage fraud schemes. The Office of the Attorney General notes that homeowners should avoid any foreclosure consultant who requires up-front fees, which are prohibited by law, and should not transfer or sell their home to a company that claims to be a foreclosure rescue organization. It is also important to review all notices from your lender and to only make payments directly to the mortgage holder. If you do seek assistance with mortgage payments, carefully read and review all financial forms in advance. Some mortgage fraud has involved companies claiming to present loan modification documents that actually transfer ownership of the home, documents later used to evict the defrauded homeowner.
As with injury cases, victims of these deceitful crimes need to be aware that the criminal system will prosecute wrongdoers but may not always fully protect the financial interests of those harmed by the crimes. If you believe you have been the victim of mortgage fraud, you should contact the Attorney General’s office to report the crime and then reach out to a skilled attorney for help in recovering your losses. At the Brod Law Firm, we are prepared to help victims of mortgage fraud. Please contact us for a free consultation.