District Attorney warns about foreclosure fraud


The Santa Clara County District Attorney on Thursday (Aug. 18) warned homeowners facing foreclosure to beware of scammers promising to change mortgage terms.

"If you are facing foreclosure, my office is taking action to help. Recently, we prosecuted and convicted two defendants for running a business that promised homeowners behind on their mortgages that the homeowner could get their mortgage terms changed. These con artists convinced scared homeowners to stop speaking with their lender and instead pay the defendants an advance fee.

"With the help of the San Jose Police Department, the defendants' business was shut down and they were sentenced to several years in state prison and ordered to pay back the victim homeowners," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a public statement.

The "con artists" violated the Foreclosure Consultants Act. It is a crime for anyone, even an attorney or real estate agent, to collect advance fees to perform loan modification services on a home mortgage, Rosen said. Instead, he said people should use a HUD-certified foreclosure counselor. The Santa Clara County District Attorney's foreclosure help hotline provides information about finding counselors at 408-794-1242.

The district attorney's office also sends a letter to most homeowners whose home receives a notice of foreclosure, officially called a Recorded Notice of Default, Rosen said. The letter tells homeowners about the foreclosure help hotline and the key points of the Foreclosure Consultants Act.

More information is available by leaving a message on the DA's real estate and foreclosure fraud hotline at 408-792-2879.

Sue Dremann

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