Stopping Foreclosure Scams Begins at Home, Suggests Anderson, Indiana Lawyer for Bankruptcy

October 1, 2012 12:31 pm Published by

The journal Consumer Bankruptcy News keeps me informed of all the court cases that have to do with individual bankruptcy in Indiana and all across the country. In this series, I’m sharing the rulings in some of those cases with my Bankruptcy in Indiana readers to help clarify the principles behind bankruptcy law and the way in which the law actually works .This is the second real-life situation I’ve chosen to share.  I’ll explain why the court ruled the way it did, and what that information might mean to anyone thinking about filing personal bankruptcy in Indiana.

Today’s case has to do with a massive mortgage fraud that took place in New York.  So why do I think this is an important thing to share with Indiana clients and readers?  Here’s the reason: After more than 25 years in the practice of Indiana bankruptcy law, offering Indiana bankruptcy help to literally tens of thousands of people, I would say that one of the main items on people’s “agenda” when they visit a Zuckerberg bankruptcy law office is – help to stop foreclosure.  One of my Columbus bankruptcy lawyers told me that nothing makes her angrier than fraudsters who take advantage of those trying hard to save their homes, and I feel exactly the same way.

It’s precisely because there are so many new scams involving "foreclosure consultants" that I wanted to be sure to issue an alert to my Indiana bankruptcy clients and readers about the danger. These mortgage consultants charge a fee to negotiate a modification to your mortgage. The typical scammer pockets the fee and disappears without ever contacting your mortgage lender!

Here’s what happened in the case of First Class Equities in New York:

  • Mortgage company owner Gerard Canino recruited “straw buyers” (people who didn’t really want to buy homes) to pretend they were in the market for a home.
     
  • The “straw buyers” would purchase homes from sellers who were in financial distress and were desperate to sell their homes.
     
  • Mortgage applications were submitted with fraudulent information about the ‘straw buyers  assets and income, saying those buyers wanted to live in the homes.
     
  • Attorneys from First Class made huge, illegal payments to themselves and to the fake buyers out of the loan proceeds.
     
  • Scores of foreclosures happened because of this, since the money did not end up being paid to the homeowners.

    All of these shenanigans went on for five years before the First Class crimes were detected.

Think this couldn’t happen in Indiana?  The Zuckerberg bankruptcy law offices are in Anderson, Bloomington, Indianapolis, Richmond, and Columbus, Indiana, and mortgage-related scams have happened in every one of those places. Just since 2007, the Indiana Attorney General's office has sued four companies for foreclosure scamming.

If you are behind on your mortgage payments, don’t become a scam victim.  Getting legal advice from an Indiana bankruptcy attorney could be the best way to avoid the “First Class Mortgage”s of this world.
 


 

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This post was written by Mark Zuckerberg

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