Another Possible Loan Modification Scam: They’re Alive and Well in California in January 2013

District Attorney cracks down on Loan Modificatoin Scams

By Sean Coffey, Program Manager, Foreclosure Help

According to a January 25, 2013 article in the Santa Maria Times, (DA’s office investigating loan modification/foreclosure fraud case) a fraud case involving an alleged loan modification/foreclosure consultant in the Santa Maria area is being investigated by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

According to the article, the organization may have operated under the names Hermandad Hispanic Group, Crown Point Education, and America Asset Management.

If you are a homeowner who believes you have been taken advantage of by this company, the District Attorney’s Office is requesting that you contact District Attorney Investigator Jennifer Glimp at 737-7871. For Spanish speaking homeowners, contact District Attorney Investigative Assistant Maria Chavez at 346-7519.

If the allegations are true, this will be yet another sad case of homeowners who believed something that was too good to be true.   When homeowners ask us about loan modification companies, we remind them that it is illegal in California to charge an upfront fee for a loan modification.

Red lights for homeowners to look out for include:

  • A company that is being pushy and trying to sell their services
  • A person who promises to stop a foreclosure
  • Anybody who guarantees a loan modification

For homeowners who have been illegally charged an upfront fee here in Santa Clara County, Foreclosure Help will make referrals to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office (Real Estate Fraud Division) and we also will refer the homeowners to the Fair Housing Law Project at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley who can work with homeowners and pro bono attorneys to seek restitution.

As a reminder, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  There is absolutely nobody who can truthfully promise or guarantee you a loan modification.   Your bank or servicer is the only entity that will make the decision about whether or not your loan can or will be modified.  It’s also important to know that your bank or servicer may be limited from granting a modification because of the investor who actually holds your mortgage.

When you stop paying your mortgage payments, the bank or servicer will file a Notice of Default, which is the first step in the foreclosure process.  This Notice of Default is public record (It’s filed at the Santa Clara County Recorder’s office- you can search records by name by clicking on the left side of the screen “official documents” and searching by grantor/grantee name), and so you will likely start receiving LOTS and LOTS of mail, phone calls, visits, etc. from “experts” who want to “help.”   Services like Foreclosureradar.com allow people to obtain contact information (and info about their mortgage) for homeowners in default and then contact them.

If you’re not sure where to turn, we recommend speaking with a HUD approved foreclosure counselor.  They can help you identify your options, discuss programs like Keep Your Home California or HAMP with you and make a plan forward.  The best part is that the counselors don’t have a financial incentive to guide you towards a certain outcome.  This means they can give you a unbiased, clear analysis of your situation and your options to avoid foreclosure.

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Our HUD-approved counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293- 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.

Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) -293-6000, o visite nuestro sitio:www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Nếu bạn là một sinh hoạt chủ sở hữu nhà ở San Jose hoặc Sunnyvale và đang đấu tranh với nợ nhà, xin vui lòng liên ForeclosureHelpSCC, một chương trình được tài trợ bởi thành phố San Jose và thành phố của Sunnyvale ở (408) -293-6000 hoặc truy cập trang web của chúng tôi: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Nhân viên tư vấn của chúng tôi đã được HUD chấp thuận có thể giúp bạn đánh giá các lựa chọn của bạn, tìm hiểu thêm về các chương trình của liên bang và tiểu bang có thể giúp bạn với các vấn đề thế chấp của bạn, và sẽ giúp bạn tạo ra một kế hoạch phía trước.

Xin lưu ý: Tất cả các nội dung trên Blog ForeclosureHelpSCC được cung cấp thông tin duy nhất và không nên coi là hợp pháp hoặc tư vấn thuế. Nếu bạn có bất cứ câu hỏi , xin vui lòng liên hệ với chúng tôi qua đường dây nóng: (408) -293-6000, hoặc truy cập vào trang của chúng tôi: http://www.foreclosurehelpscc.org hoặc gửi email cho chúng tôi:help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

New Details on Independent Foreclosure Review: What Banks Are Included, What banks are not

Federal Reserve Independent Foreclosure Review Information

More details are emerging about the replacement of the Independent Foreclosure Review, and we will continue to update as more information is released from the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller Currency.    We suspect that it will be several weeks before actual program details emerge, and there have been suggestions that payments to homeowners would not start until March 2013 at the earliest.  Homeowners should keep their eye on the Independent Foreclosure Review website and we suspect that more information will be posted by the end of January 2013.

1. How much is the new settlement?   $3.3 billion will be distributed in direct payments to eligible borrowers, while an additional $5.2 billion in relief will be granted through loan modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments.

2. How will compensation be determined?  Huffington Post (Foreclosure Review In New Settlement Leaves Homeowners In Banks’ Hands January 7, 2013) reports that banks and servicers will now look at the 4.4 million homeowners who were foreclosed on from 2009-2010 and:

broadly classify them into 11 “buckets” corresponding to the level of fraud during the foreclosure process. Borrowers with foreclosed loans that fall into the highest-priority bucket, such as foreclosures illegally conducted on U.S. troops while they were fighting overseas, will qualify for a payout of as much as $125,000. Those in the lowest-level group, such as loans with a clerical error, will qualify for at least $250.

3. What banks are included?  According to the Federal Reserve press release, participating in this new agreement “would meet the requirements of the enforcement actions that mandated that the servicers retain independent consultants to conduct an Independent Foreclosure Review.”  (In other words, this is replacing the Independent Foreclosure Review for these banks and servicers)

Aurora Loan Servicing

Bank of America

Citibank

HSBC (added January 18th)

JPMorgan Chase

MetLife Bank

PNC

Sovereign

SunTrust,

U.S. Bank

Wells Fargo

4. What banks are not included? According to the HuffingtonPost article cited earlier, these banks are not included and reviews will continue for homeowners whose loans were serviced by these companies:

Ally Financial,

EverBank,

OneWest Bank (formerly IndyMac bank)

The Federal Reserve press release states: “The agencies continue to work to reach similar agreements in principle with other servicers that are not parties to the agreement announced today, but that are also subject to enforcement actions for deficient practices in mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing.”

5. What about Litton and Saxon customers?   Jan. 16th, 2013 Update: Litton and Saxon have both agreed to conduct a process similar to the 10 banks/servicers mentioned earlier in this post, you can see a press release about their settlements here: Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have reached agreements in principle with the Federal Reserve Board to pay $557 million in cash payments and other assistance to help mortgage borrowers.

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.   Our HUD-approved counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293- 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.

Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) -293-6000, o visite nuestro sitio:www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.