Monday, March 12, 2012

Takedowns Of Scammers Peddling Sale Leaseback Foreclosure Rescue Deals Continue As Sacramento Feds, Local DA Score Another Guilty Plea

In Fresno, California, the Central Valley Business Times reports:

  • John Marcus Desenberg of Westlake Village preyed on families in crisis, sucking away what little money they had after gulling them into thinking he was rescuing them from foreclosure. Instead, they lost thousands of dollars each – and their homes.

  • Monday, following a lengthy investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Merced County District Attorney’s Office, Mr. Desenberg pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud in U.S. District Court in Fresno. He also agreed to the forfeiture of all property and proceeds obtained as a result of his crimes, including but not limited to a personal money judgment in the amount of $300,000.

  • Mr. Desenberg, doing business as Creative Lending Solutions, devised a scheme targeted at distressed homeowners. It was part of the scheme that Desenberg would get referrals from individuals who marketed a “Fresh Start” program via the Internet, radio, and by advertisements sent through the U.S. mail to California homeowners nearing foreclosure, explains U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.

  • He would then contact other individuals with whom he did business in order for them to find an investor to purchase the home from the distressed homeowner. Once this investor was found and the home was sold to the investor, the homeowner would be allowed to stay in their home and would purportedly work on repairing their credit during the specified time period.

  • At the end of the period, the distressed homeowner would be given the option of purchasing their home back from the investor.

  • But what looked like a rescue turned out to be a trap. Mr. Wagner says investigators found that it was part of the scheme that Mr. Desenberg fraudulently induced homeowners to sign an approval form authorizing some of the sale proceeds to be given to Creative Lending Solutions as payment for fees, including but not limited to a finder’s fee and a consultation fee in an amount typically ranging from $15,000 to $20,000. He also held back money from the distressed homeowner for the purported payment of the mortgage for a specified time period, which was typically twelve months.

  • Mr. Desenberg promised the homeowners that he would monitor their situation for the twelve month time period, and that either he would make the mortgage payments out of the hold-back reserve money or that he would ensure that the investor made the mortgage payments, the government says. But the promises were hollow. He did not monitor their situation and did not ensure the mortgage payments were made. Most homes ended up in foreclosure and victims lost more than $300,000, says Mr. Wagner.

For the story, see Guilty plea in Central Valley foreclosure ‘rescue’ scam (His Creative Lending Solutions was more creative than victims realized; Could get decades in prison).

(1) For more on this type of foreclosure rescue ripoff, see:

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