June 13, 2006

 

Don't Hand Your House to a Thief

If owning a home is the great American dream, then swindling people out of their prized possession is one of the great, lucrative American scams. Mortgage fraud is on the rise, thanks to the tremendous value that's locked up in real estate today and to the increasing number of people who are struggling to pay their mortgages.

Scammers know that people in trouble make easy victims. They're swooping in and offering to "help" beleaguered borrowers -- and ending up with their house keys. Victims sometimes spend years fighting to get their homes back and some never succeed.

Meet Carol and Anthony

Carol and Anthony Calvagno of Deer Park, N.Y., on Long Island are in a hell like this right now.

In 2003, the Calvagnos were in trouble. Anthony Calvagno had health troubles and had lost his job. In order to pay their bills, the couple took out a home equity loan on the Cape Cod-style house that had been in the family for three generations. (At the time, the couple had a $125,000 mortgage on a house worth about $290,000 -- a high-equity target.) But even the home equity loan wasn't enough.

That's when Mitchell Sims swooped in, offering to help, says the couple's attorney, Arshad Majid.

Sims told the couple that he would arrange a bailout, and that they should stop making mortgage payments while he worked out the details. When foreclosure notices started showing up, he told the couple to ignore them, saying he'd take care of it.

Nearly eight weeks after Sims had entered their lives, and the day before their foreclosure was scheduled, Sims told the Calvagnos that the arrangement hadn't worked. Instead, he said they'd have to file for bankruptcy and enter a "special program" in which they'd sign over their house's title to one of Sims' employees and another of his business associates, who also happened to be Sims' brother. They'd be allowed to live in their home as tenants, Sims told them, and their rent payments would go toward buying their home back from him, says Majid. "They were put in the position where they didn't have any choice" but to sell their deed, Majid says.

But Sims never made any mortgage payments. He kept the Calvagnos' rent money and about $50,000 of the couple's money that remained after their creditors were paid.

The Calvagnos had fallen victim to a scam known as equity stripping -- just one of the many flavors of mortgage fraud. Their house was sold. Sims and another person have been put in prison for their crimes. The couple has successfully fought eviction -- so far -- but not everyone is so lucky.

Here's a quick look at three of the main ways scammers can steal the roof over your head:

So if you are looking to use your home for extra cash to help you through the hard times, and/or maybe just to pay off your bills, then there is an ethical, effective debt elimination and wealth building program that works wonders, and you'll never have to turn your greatest asset -- your home -- over to anyone else...EVER!

Just call Bill Pelletier at (818)237-6834 or email him at pfsgbill@yahoo.com. Over visit www.prosperityservices.org for more information.

To read this full article and get all of the Do's and Don'ts then click here.

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