Thursday, August 16, 2012

Scammer Cut Loose After 3+ Yrs Time Served For Running Rent To Own, Straw Buyer Ripoff That Left Wanna-Be Homeowners Booted, Investors Holding The Bag

In Lee County, Florida, The News Press reports:

  • A man accused of being a major part of an alleged $3 million mortgage fraud scheme pleaded no contest [] in a Lee County court to five counts of obtaining mortgages by fraud, said a state attorney’s office spokeswoman. A judge adjudicated him guilty.

    After his 2007 arrest, Erich Heckler, now 41, faced 62 counts including racketeering, grand theft, obtaining a mortgage by false representation and scheme to defraud a financial institution. The scheme reportedly went back to around 2003, said reports at the time of his arrest.

    Heckler received credit for time served after spending 1,200 days in jail, said Samantha Syoen, a state attorney’s office spokeswoman. He must also pay the victims more than $56,000 and received 100 months of probation, she said. “Our main focus for doing a plea was to get restitution for the victims,” Syoen said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

    Heckler was vice president of Fort Myers-based Alternative Home Finance, which would find renters with bad credit ratings and allow them to pick out a house to rent and eventually own, according to court documents.

    The company would then allegedly find people with good credit and take out multiple loan applications in the name of one borrower while falsifying applications. After collecting money from a bank, they would allow the house to go into foreclosure, leaving renters without a home, borrowers with bad credit and banks to foot the bill.

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