Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Elderly Woman Gets 5 Years In Loan Modification Foreclosure Rescue Ripoff; Stiffed Victims Out Of Promised Services After Pocketing Upfront Fees

In Fremont, California, Central Valley Business Times reports:

  • Angeline Lisa Lizarrago of Fremont could be as old as 74 when she finally totters out of state prison, following her sentencing [] for a mortgage scam that ripped off homeowners in the Central Valley and Northern California. She was ordered to prison for five years for charging homeowners for foreclosure services that were never delivered.


  • In September 2010, Ms. Lizarrago was charged with 23 counts of felony fraud and theft committed at her Fremont business, Avemos Financial Group. The charges against Ms. Lizarrago and her co-defendant, Michael Douglas Young, 68, of Los Gatos, were based on 11 cases of fraud and theft totaling more than $50,000.

  • From June 2008 to October 2009, Ms. Lizarrago, owner of Avemos, and Mr. Young, the general manager, targeted Spanish-speaking homeowners, as well as Southeast Asian immigrants, who were desperate to save their homes.

  • People stood in line for hours to get into the Avemos waiting room, which was decorated with shrines to the Virgin Mary. Clients seeking help typically paid $1,500 initially. Ms. Lizarrago promised she would take steps to stop banks from foreclosing on clients' homes and renegotiate their loans to lower monthly loan payments and reflect their homes' current market value. She guaranteed a refund if they were unsuccessful. Many clients lost their homes in foreclosure and did not receive a refund.

  • Ms. Lizarrago also took advantage of the foreclosure crisis in another way, the attorney general says. She told an 89-year-old man and his wife, who wanted to move away from Stockton, that she owned 51 properties, many of which had been foreclosed upon, and she could find them a home in Fremont. She asked for an up-front fee, which she promised to return with interest once the purchase was made. In a series of payments, the couple gave her $25,000. She never found them a home, nor returned their money.

  • Mr. Young, who pled not guilty to the felony charges, is scheduled for jury trial on Jan. 23, 2012.

For the story, see Five-year sentence for foreclosure scam targeting Central Valley homeowners (Homeowners who were scammed lost their homes to foreclosure; An office decorated with shrines to the Virgin Mary).

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