Noose Tightening — Foreclosure Consultants

Interesting Post from Anna:

Editor’s Note: As I have repeatedly said unless the pretender lender volunteers, NOTHING stops a foreclosure other than an Order signed by a Judge in a Court of competent jurisdiction, which includes the automatic stay relief afforded by filing a petition for debtor relief in Chapter 7, 11 or 13 Bankruptcy.

NOBODY has a right to advise you or REPRESENT you as an advocate ON YOUR CASE except a licensed professional whose liclense includes within its scope the ability to give such advice. Ordinarily that would be a lawyer.

The FACT that most lawyers are regularly committing malpractice because they don’t read the documents and they have not brought themselves up to speed on securitization of loans — mortgage, auto, student, credit cards and other consumer loans, is NOT a reason to go to someone else that will tell you what you want to hear. THAT is a prescription to further disaster, depleting you of funds that are already low.

There is no short-cut and no magic bullet. You need information, you need help, you need advice and a strong, experienced, licensed advocate to represent your interests. Anything you get here is not and cannot be construed to be advice on YOUR case. How could it, we haven’t even met.

Like forensic analysis, expert declarations, and legal research, this blog gives you tools to go to the next step in setting up a possible defense if it applies to you. You find that out in Court, not in some office where the the furniture was moved in last week, and will be moved out in a few months after they have collected enough retainers.

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Four Arrested, Five Wanted for Fleecing Hundreds of Homeowners Seeking Foreclosure Relief

**NOTE: Contact information for victims willing to speak with the press is available upon request**

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced that nine men engaged in a Southern California boiler room, tricked out in high-roller style with a roulette wheel and other casino equipment, have been charged with 97 criminal counts for stealing at least $2.3 million from more than 1,500 desperate homeowners who were promised loan modifications but received no relief.

Arrested Tuesday and Wednesday night were Gregg Scott Quinn, 37, of Camarillo and Juan Pierre Washington, 40, of Winnetka, who worked as company sales managers and supervisors. They are being held at Los Angeles County Jail.

Gary Arnold Eisenberg, 71, of Westwood, a top telemarketer with the company, and Ira Itskowitz, 58, a sales manager, each spent more than five years in federal prison for previous fraud convictions and are already in federal custod! y for violating parole in connection with their participation in the scheme.

The four principal owners of the business, Niv Iskin, 30, of Reseda, Reviv Karpman, 38, of Tarzana, Tomer Kogman, 29, of Receda and Avraham Yechizkia, 34, of Encino; and a sales manager, Barel Iskin, 23, of Woodland Hills, are still being pursued by law enforcement.

“This company was just a boiler room, long on promises and upfront fees but short on foreclosure relief,” Brown said. “Its operators cruelly defrauded citizens trying valiantly to hang on to their homes.”

Brown’s office initiated its investigation in March 2009 in response to numerous consumer complaints against the defendants’ Canoga Park-based loan modification business, which operated as Mason Capital Group, LLC and Gretchen Fox and Associates.

When agents executed a search warrant at the office, they found a Las Vegas casino-themed sales floor complete with craps, poker and bl! ack jack tables fashioned as workstations, and a roulette whee! l that top-selling telemarketers spun for cash bonuses (see photos attached).

Between January 2008 and June 2009, the four owners took in at least $2.3 million in up-front fees, which ranged from $1,000 to $5,000, from more than 1,500 homeowners throughout the country. In almost every case, no loan modifications were completed, as promised. Financial records indicate that the four owners spent hundreds of thousands on private school tuition, travel, entertainment, shopping and other personal expenses while running Mason Capital Group, LLC and Gretchen Fox and Associates.

To corral sales, the four owners used a telemarketing operation that targeted homeowners facing mortgage payment increases or foreclosure. During an initial call, the telemarketers touted the company’s team of “attorneys, forensic accounting personnel, and loan negotiators” available to negotiate reductions in interest rates, monthly payments and principal balances; their suppos! ed 90% to 100% loan modification success rate and refund guarantee. The telemarketers then collected financial information from homeowners to determine if they “qualified” for the company’s services.

Soon after the initial call, homeowners received a follow-up call to inform them that their case had been “reviewed” and “approved.” Telemarketers closed sales by insisting the approval would expire unless homeowners acted quickly, while reminding them about the refund guarantee if promised results were not achieved.

In fact, the company completed very few loan modifications, rarely contacted lenders, failed to honor the refund guarantee, employed unlicensed “loan processors” and had no legal staff negotiating with lenders.

While homeowners waited, they were told their loan modifications, or refunds, would be voided if they tried independently to contact their lender. Many lost their homes to foreclosure as a result.

To skirt the state’s foreclosure laws, avoid paying refunds and concea! l profits, the owners changed company names, claimed bankruptcy and shifted loan modification files to another business they created called, American Financial Group, LLC.

Investigators located victims in dozens of California cities, including: American Canyon, Anaheim, Antioch, Artesia, Atwater, Bakersfield, Ceres, Chico, Cotati, Cloverdale, Crestline, Delano, Elk Grove, Encino, Fountain Valley, Fremont, Fresno, Guerneville, Hanford, Hayward, Hercules, Hood, Indio, La Jolla, Lancaster, Laguna Hills, Lodi, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Manteca, Modesto, Montclair, N. Hollywood, Newhall, Newman, North Highlands, Oakdale, Oakland, Ontario, Palmdale, Pittsburg, Pleasanton, Poplar, Porterville, Redding, Richmond, Riverbank, Rodeo, Sacramento, San Jose, San Pablo, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Stanton, Stockton, Tracy, Tulare, Turlock, Union City, Upland, Valley Village, Van Nuys, Visalia, W. Sacramento and Yuba City.

Brown’s office will seek restit! ution for victims of this scam.

By law, all individuals and businesses offering mortgage foreclosure consulting or loan modification and foreclosure assistance services must register with Brown’s office and post a $100,000 bond. It is also illegal for loan modification consultants to charge up-front fees for their services.

Non-profit housing counselors certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provide free help to homeowners. To find a counselor in your area, call 1-800-569-4287.

If you are a homeowner who has been scammed, contact Brown’s office at 1-800-952-5225 or file a complaint online at: http://www.ag.ca.gov/consumers/general.php

.

Brown has sought court orders to shut down more than 30 fraudulent foreclosure relief companies and has brought criminal charges and obtained lengthy prison sentences for dozens of other deceptive loan modif! ication consultants. For more information on Brown’s action against lo! an modification fraud visit: http://ag.ca.gov/loanmod

.

The 97 criminal counts filed against the nine defendants, include 63 counts of grand theft, 26 counts of unlawful foreclosure consulting, 7 counts of tax evasion and 1 count of conspiracy.

The United States Postal Inspection Service assisted in the investigation.

Copies of the complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, and the Arrest Warrant are attached.

13 Responses

  1. Richard
    Brad is from Cincinnati Ohio. BA, MBA not a JD (lawyer)

    try searching for his name in Zabasearch and add the city, state.

    no guarantees…but a phone number does come up

  2. Still can’t get ahold of Brad keiser and have no idea what the status is of my QWR that he did for me!!!!

  3. THIS IS GOOD.BUT WHEN IS THE DA IS GOING AFTER THE REAL CROOKS THE BANKS.ILLEGLE FORECLOSURE. THERE SEEMS TO BE TWO SETS OF RULES. THIS COULD NOT BE IN 2010.

  4. The post about Atty. General Brown is from Abby, not Anna…small typo.

    I agree with Willow!!

    And just remember, as long as one owes money on a mortgage for a home, one is really just a glorified renter!! One really does not ‘own’ the home until it is completely paid for.

    So, always try to put things in perspective. We have become ‘serfs’ to our home debt.

    Of course, none of us appreciate being scammed and put into a financial vortex. It is good to continue to fight the scamsters so that our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. will never have to deal with what is going on now with the foreclosure mess.

    BUT…it is NOT enough just to be fighting for your own home, you MUST contact your legislatures (both state and federal) to let them know it is NOT ok to let the fraudsters do this to us main street americans.

    If you suspect or determine that there is illegal activities which have surrounded your home loan, -origination, collection, securitization, foreclosure etc…be sure to contact your local county District Attorney and your State Attorney General and your local FBI office.

  5. Thanks Karokahn !

    I definitely plan on fighting.

  6. Kickboxer,
    Stay and fight, fight, FIGHT! NEVER SURRENDER!
    Signed,
    W. Churchill

  7. Mortgage foreclosure defense is very time consuming and requires attention to detail. Most
    attorneys don’t understand it and do not want to take
    the time to learn it.
    This means defendants are left with no defense
    at all unless they can find a knowledgable paralegal
    to do the research and present the case themselves.
    I have helped many pro se’s in such a way. I always
    make it clear I am not an attorney and I always refer
    them to at least 3 attorneys before I agree to help them.
    I have saved many homes where no attorney would
    take the case at a price the pro se could afford.
    MY observations of attorneys show that most
    are greedy and incompetent. Many never bother to
    do a title search and just take $3000 for doing a Ch 13
    with zero chance of sucess because the person doesn’t have the income to qualify and just winds up
    back where they were but having wasted time and
    money.
    Competence has little to do with a law degree and has more to do with common sense and decency!

  8. I feel sorry for those that were victimized by these foreclosure relief scams. People are desperate. But Neil is right, most attorneys are not up to speed on securitized loans. I could not find one attorney in my area that knew about securitization of loans, MERS, illegal foreclosure defense, etc. So no matter what services they offered, retaining any of them would have been a complete waste of money.

    So, since I am already headed for BK, I am going to do what I can for my situation in hopes that the BK courts might help us achieve a decent loan modification. A modest home comparable to ours will probably rent for more than what my house payment is so I have to at least try in my case. If the banks would just apply the arrearages to the back of the loan, we would be able to stay here. Besides, starting over at our age will probably prove more difficult. I also have an adult child with special needs still at home who I have to consider. At this point, I have more TIME than I do money right now so I don’t mind using this time to explore a possible defense.

    I think we each have to honestly examine our situation and decide if it is worth fighting for. Honestly, if I had bought a $750,000.00 home on a $36,000.00 yearly income, I probably wouldn’t even be entertaining the idea of defending it. That clearly would have been more house than I could afford. Even if modified, our monthly income would not be able to support a payment that size, nor would I be able to afford to heat or cool a home that size during the months of extreme weather.

    Really then, the advice to detach from our homes, hope for the best and prepare for the worst is good sound advice.

  9. Mr. Brown needs to hear from us and be pressured into investigating illegal foreclosures. The Florida AG is already investigating illegal foreclosures for the state of Florida. We need some AG action in California before all the shadow inventory hits foreclosure.

    I already filed a complaint to Jerry Brown’s office asking what they are doing about the illegal foreclosures if anything. I encourage all Californians to do the same.

    Here is the link to submit an inquiry:
    http://ag.ca.gov/contact/complaint_form.php?cmplt=PL

  10. yeah but why isnt mr brown going after the real culprits
    bank of america etc… like revokeing their license to do business in california because they are a criminal enterprise. and save us from

    http://4closurefraud.org/2010/05/16/how-main-street-has-destroyed-wall-street/

  11. Wow! Why am I not surprised? Southern California is another hot-bed of fraud. I worked in So Cal as an attorney in the late 80’s and early 90’s and there was just no end to all the schemes I’d come across in my work. It was amazing then how cavalier these people were and completely unrepentant. They could care less about their victims and going to jail was just the risk of doing business. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Desperate people do desperate things. When your house is in danger of foreclosure your emotions are running so high that you can’t think straight. Any danger signals, warnings and red flags are just ignored or are in override mode. A normally reasonable person will ditch reason because they need a resolve to the crisis as fast as possible. These criminals feed on your hope. They consider your hope a weakness to be exploited. Your desperation is also an exploitable weakness because they KNOW that you will do anything to keep your house and resolve this crisis.

    You are vulnerable when you are in crisis mode. Please just acknowledge that while you are in crisis mode you will not be thinking straight. You are frightened, angry, confused and in pain. Accept it. Just try to step back and detach from the outcome. Get some safe space around you. Try to keep in mind that it’s just a house. Yes, it’s your house, but it’s just a house all the same. It’s not your soul. Yes, your credit will be ruined…for a while, but so what? You are not your credit score. You still have your skills, your talents, your drive…and believe it or not…your heart, soul and spirit. They may take your house today but that can never stop you from doing other things in your life.

    Without that house, you are FREE to relocate to another country, if you want to. Free to pursue other careers. Free to learn new things. Free to apply yourself to new dreams. Free to start a business using your talents, skills and knowledge. Free to contribute to a cause, to travel, to become anything you want. Free to go out in to the world and seek other horizons. I know you’ve invested a lot of yourself in that house but right now that house has become a huge burden and a pain in the ass. Think about that. Is this house worth all the stress you going through?

    Please, I’m not suggesting you give up the fight. You must fight as long and as hard as you can because your fight may make a huge difference to other people who are also fighting. My point is to detach from the outcome because much may be simply out of your hands. If you died tomorrow do ya think you are going to take that house with you? You are not. Nothing in this life is permanent. You are you, an individual with all the guts and tenacity to start over if you have to, and not a blasted house.

    So, please do not fall for these vampires. Do not identify with the things you own. They are just things. Attaching yourself to things as defining who you are brings misery. Invest in yourself, your talents, your skills and your knowledge. And find a way to share that with others. I know we are concerned with what others think because we fear their judgement; the abandonment of friendship and rejection. But you know, what others think is irrelevant. Their opinions mean nothing. Feel free to ignore their scorn. And those that render such judgements aren’t fit to be in your life anyway.

    You will rise again another day; stronger, smarter and more confident. And that’s how we temper steel, isn’t it? In a trial by fire.

  12. yep been there done that! realised just in time before i got fleeced for more money, they wanted close to 5K

  13. Neil,

    Could not agree with you more!

    Even in my upcoming book … CLOUDED TITLES … I advise readers of the same thing. This is just more fodder for the cannon! thanks.

    Dave Krieger
    Paralegal and Investigative Journalist

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