Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ohio Man Facing 30 Felony Charges In Alleged Foreclosure Rescue Scam

In Licking County, Ohio, The Newark Advocate reports:

  • A Newark man has been indicted for 30 felony counts related to his alleged making of criminally false promises to 15 homeowners rattled by foreclosure fears. Harry W. Blausey, 66, [...], was charged with 10 counts of grand theft, [...]; 14 counts of securing writings by deception, [...]; five counts of theft, [...]; and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, [...].

  • Licking County Prosecutor Ken Oswalt declined to discuss the specifics of Blausey’s alleged actions, but did say that the defendant preyed on their foreclosure concerns. “In most, if not all, of these (charges), he accepted from (the alleged victims) a quit claim deed,” he said. “They signed their property over to him based on the representations he was making. ... They would sign there property over to him thinking they would get a significant benefit in terms of avoiding foreclosure .. or walking away from the property.”


  • In addition to the 30-count indictment, Blausey is involved in 17 civil cases in the Licking County Common Pleas Court. Six of those cases involve plaintiffs named in the indictment. One civil complaint claims fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract and unjust enrichment by Blausey against the plaintiff, who also is listed as a victim in two counts of the indictment. He claims Blausey tricked him into signing over the deed to his house, getting him to vacate his home, then renting it out until it was seized by creditors.

For more, see:

See also, WBNS-TV Channel 10: Real Estate Agent Accused In Foreclosure Scheme.

Go here for other posts on foreclosure rescue operator Harry Blausey.

For other criminal prosecutions involving foreclosure rescue and other deed scams, see:

Friday, March 28, 2008

California DA Slams Two In Alleged "Fractional Interest Deed Tranfer" Foreclosure Rescue Bankruptcy Scam

In Northern California, the San Jose Mercury News reports:

  • Alameda County District Attorney investigators arrested two women in Livermore on Wednesday for allegedly running a real estate scam targeting homeowners facing foreclosure. Sonia Alburez, 37, owner of the Community Home Saver Program, and her employee Verena Silva, 42, of Union City, are facing 36 felony counts in at least 14 incidents throughout Alameda County. In the alleged scam, homeowners paid a fee -- between $1,500 and $2,500 each -- to have the women stall the foreclosure, but ended up losing their homes anyway.


  • According to the District Attorney's office, the suspects would have property owners transfer a fractional interest of their property to fictitious company names via a grant deed. These companies had no real assets nor did they do any legitimate work. These company names were then added to the deeds at the recorder's office and the two women would file a petition with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The petitions would automatically stall foreclosure proceedings. But what the homeowners didn't know was that the banks that held the liens on the home would go to the bankruptcy court, get the grant deed overturned and foreclose the home anyway. Prosecutors believe there may be more victims.

For the story, see Women accused in alleged loan scam (Women reportedly said they'd stall foreclosure, but victims still lost their homes).

See also: San Francisco Chronicle: 2 arrests in Alameda County foreclosure scam.

For story update, see San Jose Mercury News: Alleged real estate scammer arraigned (Woman hit with eight felony counts after duping homeowners who still wound up in foreclosure).

Editorial Note:

As reported in an earlier post, some who are allegedly pulling this scam are actually putting the fractional ownership interest in the home facing foreclosure in the name of an unwitting person who recently filed for bankruptcy. The perpetrators are getting the names of recent bankruptcy filers in far away places by simply checking online bankruptcy resources and selecting individuals' names at random. For more on this, see Texas AG, Judge Slam Mortgage Rescue Operators In Fractional Interest "Foreclosure Delay" Bankruptcy Scam.

Go here for other posts on fractional interest deed transfer, foreclosure rescue bankruptcy scams.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Florida AG Files Another Civil Suit Targeting Firms Offering Allegedly Bogus Sale Leaseback, Foreclosure Rescue Programs

The Florida Attorney General's Office has filed another civil lawsuit against a foreclosure rescue operator offering allegedly sham sale leasebacks to homeowners facing foreclosure. Excerpts from the Florida AG announcement follow:

  • Attorney General Bill McCollum [Wednesday] announced that his office has sued three Broward County companies and their owners for their alleged roles in a foreclosure rescue scheme. The lawsuit names Florida Housing Council, LLP; Equity Investment Capital Management, Inc.; Star Enterprises, LLC, and Jack Moussa and Rose Moussa as the participants in a deceptive operation that defrauded hundreds of thousands of dollars in home equity from numerous homeowners in the foreclosure process.

  • Florida Housing Council allegedly identified homeowners in the foreclosure process and sent them an advertising mailer telling them to contact Florida Housing Council immediately to avoid foreclosure. Representatives of the companies would then persuade homeowners to sign documents, including complicated trust agreements and deeds, which conveyed the titles to their properties to trusts controlled by Florida Housing Council. The complaint states consumers were often charged various fees for signing the trust agreements even though no actual services were provided. According to the lawsuit, Jack Moussa also occasionally misrepresented to consumers that Florida Housing Council was a government entity.

  • Once the deeds were transferred, Florida Housing Council would allegedly charge the homeowners rent, and if rent was not paid, the homeowners would be evicted from their homes. Jack Moussa would supposedly either keep the homes or sell them for a profit. At least 38 homeowners in Florida have been affected and hundreds of thousands of dollars in homeowner equity has been taken.


  • Consumers who believe they may have been victimized by any of these defendants may contact the Attorney General's Office at 1-866-966-7226 or online at to file a complaint.
For the Florida AG press release, see Broward Companies, Couple Sued for Foreclosure Rescue Scam (Scheme victimized more than 30 families, defrauding them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in home equity).

For a copy of the lawsuit and the Florida AG's allegations, filed in state court in Fort Lauderdale, see Office of the Attorney General - State of Florida v. Florida Housing Council, et al.

Go here for other posts on Florida foreclosure rescue operator Jack Moussa and the Florida Housing Council.

For another recent civil lawsuit by the Florida AG against another foreclosure rescue operator, see:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Fractional Interest Deed Transfer" Foreclosure Rescue Scam Slammed By Texas Bankruptcy Judge, Attorney General

From the Texas Attorney General's office:

  • Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's Bankruptcy and Collections Division successfully intervened in a federal bankruptcy involving an illegal residential foreclosure rescue scheme. In that case, Judge Stacey G.C. Jernigan sharply criticized fraudulent mortgage rescue schemes, which she referred to as “a new cottage industry of bottom feeders.”


  • The case involved two fraudulent companies promising to stave off residential foreclosures: North American Foreclosure, L.L.P., of California, and Jireh Capital Services, L.L.C., a Dallas-area affiliate. Jireh and its operator, David Curtis, who cooperated with the Attorney General’s investigation, appeared in court and were ordered to pay a $48,000 civil penalty and $10,000 in attorneys’ fees. [...] Judge Jernigan ordered the North American and its president [Jeremy Mitchell a/k/a Jason Mitchell] to pay $100,000 in punitive damages as well as $48,000 in state civil penalties, attorneys’ fees and restitution [...].


  • Curtis convinced the [homeowners] to convey one percent of their home’s value to an out-of-state person who was in bankruptcy, or would agree to file “bankruptcy.” The [homeowners] were told that by transferring a fractional ownership interest in their home to a third person in bankruptcy, they could automatically postpone their foreclosure date. [...] Under the “client agreement,” the [homeowners] were to pay North American $650 per month for as long as its “services” were needed.

The judge also referred North American and Jireh Capital to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for an investigation into potential criminal violations. For more, see Bankruptcy Judge Condemns Mortgage Rescue Scheme, Applauds Attorney General Abbott's Efforts (Calling defendants ‘bottom feeders,’ judge exacts punitive damages).

For the related Federal Bankruptcy Court court documents setting forth all the underlying facts in this case, see:

Go here for other posts on fractional interest deed transfer, foreclosure rescue bankruptcy scams.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More On Federal Indictments Of 19 In Nationwide Alleged Sale Leaseback, Home Equity Scams

In Sacramento, California, The Sacramento Bee reports on the announcement of the Federal indictment of foreclosure rescue operator Charles Head, his brother Jeremy Michael Head, and 17 others for allegedly screwing over homeowners facing foreclosure from Maine to Hawaii with "sale leaseback" home equity scams:

  • The case – the largest equity-skimming scam in the country – affected about a half-dozen Sacramento-area residents and came to an FBI agent's attention when a North Highlands victim reached an FBI economic crimes agent who was taking calls from the complaint line. "(The agent) called Head, and based on call the agent believed there was something to this," Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen Endrizzi said.


  • The defendants reached out to people on the brink of foreclosure, offering them the chance to keep their homes and pay rent for them while repairing their credit. Those who agreed were presented with a hefty pile of paperwork that included blank spaces that were filled in later, giving a "straw buyer" title to their homes.


  • Kevin Carlin, a New Jersey attorney who has spoken with about 70 victims of Head's alleged fraud, said the scam targeted elderly and disabled people facing financial strain after job loss and illness. "I trust that some people will be leaping for joy today," Carlin said. "Even if they lost title to their house, Mr. Head may be required to pay for it with his liberty." Carlin said one of Head's former employees testified in a deposition that Head took an entire office full of workers to Hawaii. [... Ass't. U.S. Attorney Endrizzi] said Head faces about 30 civil lawsuits filed from Hawaii to New Jersey.

For more, see FBI ties 19 to equity scam (Indictments allege massive mortgage fraud targeting homeowners near foreclosure).

For others stories, see:

For the criminal indictments, see:

Go here for earlier posts as well as available updates on the Head nationwide foreclosure rescue operation.


For more on equity stripping scams, generally, see DREAMS FORECLOSED: The Rampant Theft of Americans' Homes Through Equity-stripping Foreclosure 'Rescue' Scams (4.61 MB approx.).

For other criminal prosecutions involving foreclosure rescue and other deed scams, see:

Monday, March 24, 2008

Alleged Nationwide Equity Stripping, Foreclosure Rescue Scam Indictments Announced As Sacramento Feds Bag 19 Suspects; Over 100+ Homes Involved So Far

In Sacramento, California, media reports from KNXV-TV Channel 15 (Phoenix) and KCRA-TV Channel 3 (Sacramento), as well as an announcement by United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott (Eastern District, CA) report that foreclosure rescue operator Charles Head and his brother, Jeremy Michael Head, the alleged ringleaders of what prosecutors describe as a nationwide straw buyer, equity stripping, foreclosure scam operation involving over 100 homes, have been indicted along with 17 others.

According to Assistant United States Attorneys Laura Ferris, Rob Tice-Raskin, and Ellen Endrizzi, who are prosecuting the case, the charges are broken out into two separate indictments, "Head One" (2-28-08) and "Head Two" (3-13-08).

Reportedly, investigators have said that more indictments could soon be on the way, increasing the number of homes to more than 300 nationwide. The case, known as Operation Homewrecker, included an investigation by the FBI and IRS.

The following defendants were charged in the Feb. 28 "Head One" indictment:

  1. Charles Head, 33, of Los Angeles
  2. Jeremy Michael Head, 30, of Huntington Beach
  3. Elham Assadi, aka Elham Assadi Jouzani, aka Ely Assadi, 30, of Irvine
  4. Leonard Bernot, 51, of Laguna Hills
  5. Akemi Bottari, 28, of Los Angeles
  6. Joshua Coffman, 29, of North Hollywood
  7. John Corcoran, aka Jack Corcoran, 52, of Anaheim
  8. Sarah Mattson, 27, of Phoenix, Ariz
  9. Domonic McCarns, 33, of Brea
  10. Anh Nguyen, 36, of Los Angeles
  11. Omar Sandoval, 32, of Rancho Cucamonga
  12. Xochitl Sandoval, 29, of Rancho Cucamonga
  13. Eduardo Vanegas, 28, of Phoenix
  14. Andrew Vu, 39, of Santa Ana
  15. Justin Wiley, 28, of Irvine
  16. Kou Yang, 32, of Corona.

In the March 13 "Head Two" indictment, in addition to Charles Head, John Corcoran, Kou Yang and Dominic McCarns, who were all charged in "Head One" -- the following additional defendants were charged:

  1. Keith Brotemarkle, 42, of Johnstown, Pennsylvania
  2. Benjamin Budoff, 41, of Colorado Springs, Colorado
  3. Lisa Vang, 24, of Westminster.

Friends and family members were recruited as straw buyers in "Head One," -- in "Head Two" the defendants recruited strangers via the Internet to act as the straw buyers.

For more, including the Arizona connection in this story, see KNXV-TV Channel 15: Mesa elementary school teacher indicted for federal fraud.

For the KCRA-TV Channel 3 story, see 19 Accused Of Mortgage Scheme (Struggling Homeowners Victimized, Officials Say).

For the U.S. Attorney's press release, see Indictments Announced In Major Mortgage Fraud Scheme.

For the criminal indictments, see:

Go here for earlier posts as well as available updates on the Head nationwide foreclosure rescue operation.

Thanks to Josh Bernstein and Tim McDaniel for the "Heads-Up" (so to speak) on this story.


For more on equity stripping scams, generally, see DREAMS FORECLOSED: The Rampant Theft of Americans' Homes Through Equity-stripping Foreclosure 'Rescue' Scams (4.61 MB approx.).

For other criminal prosecutions involving foreclosure rescue and other deed scams, see: