Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Purported Clergyman Who Peddled Sale Leasebacks To Homeowners In F'closure Cops Plea To Felony Charges; Prosecutors: 3 Victims Scammed Out Of $650K

In Santa Clara County, California, the San Jose Mercury News reports:

  • A San Juan Bautista man pleaded guilty to felony charges that he cheated Silicon Valley homeowners out of more than $650,000 and took title to their homes. Wesley Fort, 56, was a bishop of the Newlife Family Worship Center Church of God in Christ in Hollister when he scammed three families in San Jose and Milpitas, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

  • He will be sentenced to no more than two years and eight months in jail, three years of supervision and may be required to make restitution to the victims.

  • Fort, acting as a foreclosure consultant in 2005 and 2006, told the families he could save their homes from foreclosure. He convinced them to transfer title of their homes to him and also to make mortgage payments to him, in one case a victim paid him more than the regular mortgage payments. He told the owners he would eventually return title to them, according to prosecutors.

  • But all three families lost their homes. Fort, meanwhile, made money through either refinancing the homes or by selling the properties to himself, according to prosecutors. It is a felony for a foreclosure consultant to acquire an interest in a foreclosed home from a client.

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

(2) State court prosecutors appear to be stepping up to the plate and bringing criminal charges against these scammers in these cases which, at one time, were generally thought of as being civil cases. See, for example:

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