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As Home Foreclosures Skyrocket, Mortgage Fraud Help Arrives in Southern California

EAST LOS ANGELES, Calif.--(February 28, 2008)--A leading consumer advocacy group announced free help to the thousands of homeowners in Southern California who have lost their homes, are in the process of losing their home, or believe they will lose their home in the near future due to mortgage fraud. The group is documenting cases of mortgage fraud for a report to be issued this summer in the nation's capital and will have all cases reviewed by a legal aid team.

"Shady realtors, greedy mortgage brokers, worthless appraisers, and careless escrow companies are to blame for some of the crisis many homeowners face today," said K.B. Forbes, Executive Director of the Consejo de Latinos Unidos, a national not-for-profit organization and public charity which investigates and educates the public about consumer fraud and abuses. "We suspect that at least one in five homeowners in Southern California has been hoodwinked by one of the key players involved in the transaction. The mortgage and real estate industry cannot claim innocence."

Rueben Preciado, a homeowner from Moreno Valley, discovered that his supposed 30-year fixed loan was not fixed last September. "Our payment went much higher and we didn't know why. Our loan, it turned out, was a three-year fixed and 27-year adjustable." When he tried to refinance, he discovered that his loan included an unconscionable pre-payment penalty equal to six months of interest. He could not afford to refinance. "We are barely making it," said Preciado, a tire mechanic who works at an auto tire store in Pomona. "I have had to borrow money from family to stay afloat and not lose my house."

Consejo has reviewed Preciado's case and found that he was never given final documents showing the loan change and it appears his escrow company and mortgage broker deceived him.

SOURCE: Consejo de Latinos Unidos
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