The California Attorney General filed criminal white collar crime charges against 8 people in the Southern California county of San Bernardino. The charges include theft crimes of money laundering, conspiracy, and grand theft stemming out of Redlands, California.
The charges arose out of a scam that has plagued the mortgage industry after so many people in the City of Redlands had trouble making their house payments. Most of the victims responded to a flier which claimed to be able to help lower house payments for those who have been affected by the recent problems in the economy. The company promised to help home owners so that they would not fall into default and loose their properties in foreclosure.
Those individuals charged in the 39 count complaint most likely knew that they were under investigation. Had they hired a San Bernardino County defense attorney familiar with the officials in Redlands, it is possible that the money could have been returned to the victims and no charges would have been filed in return for full restitution. Or in the alternative, the charges would have been minimal any quite possibly no custody time would be imposed. Now all 8 people are facing decades in prison.
The home owners responded to a flier by a fake company called First Gov, also called Foreclosure Prevention Services. Some paid as much as $6,000 to the fake company to assist them in negotiating with the banks to lower their payments. The victims waited but nothing was ever done to assist them and those charged just stole the money.
So far, the total loss has exceeded $700,000. The scam was so complex that the fake company told the victims to pay them somewhere between $1,500 and $5,000 and to stop paying their monthly mortgage. In turn, the company promised to renegotiate their mortgages. That was never done.
Government officials first started hearing about the mortgage scam back in January. By the time the investigation had been completed, most of the money has been wired to Mexico.
Some of the most harm came to the victims after the scam had occurred. They had been told not to communicate with their banks. So when the banks tried to contact the home owners to see what had been happening to their payment, the calls went unanswered. Thereafter, foreclosure proceedings began.
The blog entry was written by Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Michael Kraut. Attorney Kraut specializes in white collar criminal defense and can be contacted 24 hours everyday if you have a white collar emergency.