In recent years, an increase in home foreclosures has also led to an increase in foreclosure scams. A foreclosure rescue scam can happen in a number of different ways, each of which is designed to cheat the homeowner out of money or property at a time when the homeowner is in desperate financial circumstances. In response, the federal government and the State of Arizona are cracking down hard on these perpetrators. Many innocent people may be falsely accused.
If you have been accused of foreclosure scams or foreclosure fraud you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer even if you are confident that your actions were lawful. The legal penalties for these frauds can be significant. It is therefore essential that you contact Attorney Ashley Adams as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected.
Call for a case evaluation with Attorney Ashley D. Adams: 480-219-1366.
COMMON FORECLOSURE SCAMS
Foreclosure scams target homeowners who are suffering from overwhelming debt and facing foreclosure. Some scams result in ownership of a person’s home being transferred to the scammer, while others provide for various large fees for services that are never provided. Some common examples include the following:
Short term loans: troubled home owners are approached with an offer of a short term loan. Most of these loans have high interest rates and require a balloon payment. In reality, these loans are additional liens against the property that can be foreclosed upon.
Unethical realtors: a real estate agent (or “pre-foreclosure specialist”) may offer to reinstate a person’s loan and sell the house in order to salvage any accrued equity and appreciation in the home. However, the home owner must split the earnings with the agent and therefore loses that equity.
Unethical investors: an investor may offer a bailout to a homeowner facing foreclosure by purchasing the property and taking the homeowner’s equity without providing any further assistance.
Foreclosure consulting agencies: are usually investors looking to make a large profit by taking a homeowner’s equity, posing as a foreclosure assistance company. They often convince the homeowner to sign a purchase agreement that can be assigned to someone else for a profit and result in the homeowner losing his or her house.
Debt negotiating: involves companies that offer to negotiate or consolidate debt for the homeowner. However, the homeowner must prepay high fees for these services that offer nothing that other non-profit agencies provide for free.
Financial services: individuals posing as financial services companies offering to assist homeowners facing foreclosure with tax advice, debt management, real estate sales, and pre-foreclosure sales. Fees are usually required up-front. Many are not legitimate corporations and do not possess a license as required by the Arizona State Banking Department for debt or credit counseling.
Rent to buy scams: homeowners are told that if they sign over title to their house to a person who will pay off the mortgage, they will be able to stay in their house as renters and then buy back the house in a few years. Typically, the contracts are so burdensome that the former homeowner is unable to buy their house back, and the scammer retains full ownership.
Stopping foreclosure with bankruptcy: occurs when the scammer asks for an upfront fee and promises to negotiate with the homeowner’s lender for a lower monthly payment or refinance at a lower rate. The scammer may simply file a bankruptcy case in the homeowner’s name after pocketing the fees. Although bankruptcy may temporarily suspend foreclosure activities, it does not stop them.
Individuals involved in foreclosure scams are often charged with violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act. In addition to charges filed by the state Attorney General, the Arizona courts have ruled that the Act provides for a private right of action, which means that private individuals may also file a civil action against a defendant. In order to establish a claim for consumer fraud, it must be shown that:
a defendant used deception in connection with the sale or advertisement of merchandise (which includes any object, commodity, real estate, or services);
defendant intended that others rely upon the deception; and
a plaintiff suffered damages as a result of reliance on defendant’s deception.
Involvement in foreclosure scams can lead to harsh penalties. If you have been accused of foreclosure fraud it is essential that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Ashley D. Adams, our attorneys have the experience, skill, and knowledge to defend your rights and provide you with the best defense possible. Call attorney Ashley Adams today.
At Ashley D. Adams, PLC, we have a well-established track record of success that can make a difference, whether in defending charges of white collar crime, health care fraud, financial fraud, general fraud charges, other criminal or civil matters, or representing our clients during a government investigation.
Ashley D. Adams, Principal
+1 (602) 524.3801
Adams & Associates, PLC
The best in criminal defense.
“When I was facing serious criminal charges, I needed an aggressive attorney with a strong track record. Adams & Associates exceeded my expectations and saved me from conviction. ”
Smart, insightful & effective.
“Adams & Associates is the best criminal defense team in the state .”
The only attorney I trust.
“Adams & Associates is among the best criminal defense teams capable of handling complex cases. They are the only attorney I trust.”