New York Times: Borrowers, Beware of Mortgage Relief Fraud
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Mortgage relief fraud schemes are still around, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Acting on a complaint by the F.T.C., a federal court has halted a mortgage relief operation that the commission accused of taking in more than $1 million by offering troubled homeowners “bogus” help in staving off foreclosure.
The F.T.C. filed a complaint March 5 in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California in Santa Ana against Sameer Lakhany and five businesses that he controlled. The complaint alleged that he and the companies victimized hundreds of borrowers with two related mortgage-assistance frauds. Last week, the court issued orders halting operation of the businesses, freezing their assets and appointing a permanent receiver to oversee the firms while the F.T.C. pursues the case. The agency said it would seek funds for possible refunds for consumers.
Jerry Werksman, Mr. Lakhany’s attorney, said in a brief telephone interview that his client “didn’t go into this business to cheat people. It’s unfortunate the F.T.C. put an end to it because he was trying to help.”
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