Friday, February 17, 2012

Pastor Pleads No-Contest To Charges He Targeted Congregation Members In Loan Modification Ripoffs, Home Improvement Scam

In Sacramento, California, The Sacramento Bee reports:

  • An Elk Grove man has entered a no-contest plea in a case involving the illegal collection of upfront fees for loan modification services. Rodney Andrews, 57, pleaded no contest to two felony violations of embezzlement, two felony violations of theft by false pretenses, one felony violation of diversion of construction funds and one felony violation of unlawful use of personal identifying information, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

  • At the time he committed the offenses, Andrews operated a company known as Andrews Investment Group, which offered loan modification services. He also was a pastor at the Comeback Christian Church, where he solicited congregation members and low income property owners to refinance their homes, lower their mortgages or stall out their foreclosures, officials said.

  • Andrews collected upfront fees in violation of a statute passed by the California Legislature to prevent individuals from preying on vulnerable home owners facing foreclosure or mortgage payments they couldn't afford. He also failed to provide proper notifications as required by law, did not provide the services he promised and did not use the funds he obtained for the represented purposes, according to the news release.

  • In addition, Andrews obtained from one home owner money that was supposed to be used on a project to improve her home. Andrews represented to the victim that he had a business known as Low Cost Construction. Officials said there is a company by that name, but it is owned by another contractor.

  • Andrews hired a subcontractor to remodel the property but paid him with insufficient funds checks. The subcontractor stopped working before the project was completed. Andrews never finished the remodel, leaving the victim's home in an inhabitable condition. Officials said Andrews spent the money and did not use it on the project.

Source: Elk Grove man pleads no contest to illegal conduct in loan modification.

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