Accusations of Foreclosure Fraud
Accusations of foreclosure fraud are serious and must be met with a zealous defense. If you are facing charges of foreclosure fraud, contact our office immediately for a case evaluation. The legal penalties for these frauds can be significant. The sooner we can begin to mount a strong defense in your case, the more likely it is that you will get the best possible outcome.
Foreclosure fraud or a foreclosure rescue scam can occur in a number of ways. These schemes are designed to cheat the homeowner out of money or property at a time when the homeowner is in desperate financial circumstances. In response, the federal government and the State of Arizona are cracking down hard on these perpetrators. In their zeal to prosecute foreclosure fraud, many innocent people may be falsely accused.
Common Foreclosure Fraud Schemes
Foreclosure fraud schemes target homeowners who are suffering from overwhelming debt and facing foreclosure. Some scams result in ownership of a person’s home being transferred to the scammer, while others provide for various large fees for services that are never provided.
Common foreclosure scam examples include the following:
- Foreclosure Consulting Agencies: are usually investors looking to make a large profit by taking a homeowner’s equity, posing as a foreclosure assistance company. They often convince the homeowner to sign a purchase agreement that can be assigned to someone else for a profit and result in the homeowner losing his or her house.
- Financial Services: individuals posing as financial services companies offering to assist homeowners facing foreclosure with tax advice, debt management, real estate sales, and pre-foreclosure sales. Fees are usually required up-front. Many are not legitimate corporations and do not possess a license as required by the Arizona State Banking Department for debt or credit counseling.
- Debt Negotiating: involves companies that offer to negotiate or consolidate debt for the homeowner. However, the homeowner must prepay high fees for these services that offer nothing that other non-profit agencies provide for free.
- Short-Term Loans: troubled home owners are approached with an offer of a short-term loan. Most of these loans have high interest rates and require a balloon payment. In reality, these loans are additional liens against the property that can be foreclosed upon.
- Unethical Realtors: a real estate agent (or “pre-foreclosure specialist”) may offer to reinstate a person’s loan and sell the house in order to salvage any accrued equity and appreciation in the home. However, the home owner must split the earnings with the agent and therefore loses that equity.
- Unethical Investors: an investor may offer a bailout to a homeowner facing foreclosure by purchasing the property and taking the homeowner’s equity without providing any further assistance.
- Rent-to-Buy Scams: homeowners are told that if they sign over title to their house to a person who will pay off the mortgage, they will be able to stay in their house as renters and then buy back the house in a few years. Typically, the contracts are so burdensome that the former homeowner is unable to buy their house back, and the scammer retains full ownership.
Alleged foreclosure fraud schemes are being aggressively investigated and prosecuted. Conviction for these crimes can lead to harsh penalties. Our firm handles cases involving all of the above listed foreclosure fraud schemes.
Ashley D. Adams has significant experience defending clients accused of complex white collar crimes, including foreclosure fraud. She will work diligently to ensure that your rights are protected.
The attorneys at Ashley D. Adams, PLC handle state criminal cases throughout Arizona including the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Mesa, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Maricopa, Gilbert, Peoria, Surprise, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Avondale, Chandler, Casa Grande, Florence, Queen Creek, Deer Valley, North Pinal and Sun City as well as those living in and around Maricopa County, Pinal County, Pima County, Yuma County and Yavapai County.
The attorneys at Ashley D. Adams, PLC handle federal criminal cases throughout the United States, including Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah, and California.