David Saks: Real Estate Swindler Report - Hefty Prison Terms for Foreclosure Scam

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Real Estate Swindler Report - Hefty Prison Terms for Foreclosure Scam

 

Perpetrators of Nationwide Foreclosure Scam Walkawaytoday.org Sentenced to Prison Terms

U.S. Attorney’s Office September 13, 2013
  • Eastern District of Virginia (703) 299-3700

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Mark S. Farhood, 49, formerly of San Diego, California, and Jason S. Sant, 38, of Lecanto, Florida, were sentenced today for their roles in operating a nationwide online foreclosure rescue scam that went by various names, including Home Advocate Trustees and Walk Away Today, and used various websites, including walkawaytoday.org and sellfastusa.com, to deceive hundreds of vulnerable, distressed homeowners into surrendering their properties to the company.

Farhood was sentenced to 11 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Sant was sentenced to six years in prison, followed by two years of supervised release.

Each was also ordered to forfeit approximately $2.0 million in fraud proceeds to the government, along with various bank accounts and other assets.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Christy L. Romero, Special Inspector General for the U.S. Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, or SIGTARP; and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Anthony J. Trenga. Farhood and Sant each pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges on May 10, 2013.

According to court records, Farhood and Sant co-owned Home Advocate Trustees, which also went by the names Walk Away Today, First Equity Trustees, Home Security Consultants, Sell Fast USA, Short Sale Buyer, USA Sell House Fast, and USA Rental Housing.

They marketed the businesses nationwide as purchasers of distressed real estate and a means by which vulnerable homeowners could avoid foreclosure and the accompanying negative effects on their credit.

The companies told homeowners they were in the business of negotiating with lenders to purchase mortgage notes at a discount and falsely claimed to have been in business for 17 years, to have experienced a 90 percent success rate in purchasing such notes, and to be the nation’s largest volume buyer of short sale and over-leveraged real estate.

As Sant and Farhood admitted in connection with their pleas, the businesses were a fraud, no such negotiations with lenders ever took place, and the scheme was merely a way for them to take possession of hundreds of residential properties, including homes within the Eastern District of Virginia, at virtually no cost and then reap millions of dollars in profits by renting the homes to unsuspecting tenants.

Farhood and Sant further admitted that as part of the scheme, they submitted fraudulent loan modification applications to mortgage lenders under the Treasury Department’s Making Home Affordable Program in the name of homeowners, without the homeowners’ knowledge or consent.

Farhood and Sant used the fraudulent applications to stall foreclosures on the properties under their control and for which no mortgage payments were being made and to maximize the time period during which they could collect rental income.

The homes purportedly sold to Home Advocate Trustees and its related entities ended in foreclosure, harming the participating homeowners and commonly resulting in eviction of the tenants.

This case was investigated by SIGTARP and the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant United States Attorney Paul J. Nathanson prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae .

Source: FBI

http://www.fbi.gov/washingtondc/press-releases/2013/perpetrators-of-nationwide-foreclosure-scam-walkawaytoday.org-sentenced-to-prison-terms?utm_campaign=email-Immediate&utm_medium=email&utm_source=fbi-in-the-news&utm_content=257055




David Saks



Time&Temp Memphis

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Comment balloon 2 commentsDavid Saks • September 13 2013 02:47PM

Comments

Hope they look good in Orange. They certainly deserve it. Wonder how many other companies are out there like these.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max By The Sea) over 6 years ago

Quite a number of bogus foreclosure rescue operations have been shut down, thank God, in recent years, Bill, and many of the criminals who targeted distessed homeowners, including the elderly and affinity-related, are in prison.

It's safe, although scary, to believe that there are still a bunch of these creeps out there scouring the trustee's sale notices for victims.

It's great to know that FBI, and the DOJ, is totally committed to bringing them down. I'm very proud of what their white collar crime division has done to stop pandemic foreclosure rescue scamming. In a younger life I would have applied for a job to work with their agents in that division. It's well known that what they do is perilous, requires a sharp mind and a thorough understanding of occupational and financial fraud.

In many of the press releases the criminals that are prosecuted and sent to jail committed their crimes years ago. It's great tribute to the fact that eventually a real estate swindler will get nabbed, even if the crime is a decade old.

Hope you have a great weekend. It's always good to hear from you.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 6 years ago

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