2 Admit Roles in Nationwide Foreclosure Scam

admin —  May 13, 2013 — 8 Comments

Mark S. Farhood, 49, formerly of San Diego, California, and Jason S. Sant, 37, Lecanto, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in connection with their operation of a nationwide online foreclosure rescue scam that went by various names, including Home Advocate Trustees and Walk Away Today, to deceive hundreds of vulnerable, distressed homeowners into surrendering their properties to the company.

The pleas were accepted by United States District Judge Anthony J. Trenga. Farhood and Sant each face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison when they are sentenced on August 2, 2013, and August 9, 2013, respectively.

According to the Indictment and criminal Information, 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. The defendants used various websites, including walkawaytoday.org and sellfastusa.com to facilitate the scheme.

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 U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) 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. (farhoodplea, Santplea)

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.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Christy L. Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or SIGTARP; and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement.

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by SIGTARP and the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant United States Attorney Paul J. Nathanson is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

Be Sociable, Share!

8 responses to 2 Admit Roles in Nationwide Foreclosure Scam

  1. Unbelievable!!!!!!

  2. Jason Sant has conducted fraudulent activities in the past, specifically with my business partner and me. He and his partner at that time (2007 & 2008) were supposedly converting apartments into condos. We got taken in by them and believed they were doing well at this business and Jason could be quite charming when he wanted something, especially money. It was just another scam and may have been the stepping stone to what he is now charged with doing. We lost over $200K to them and it looks like we will never get that money back and we are both angry and broke. I hope he gets the maximum penalty for what he has done. The man appears to have no conscience.

  3. Does anyone know what Jason Sant’s sentencing ended up being?

    • I have checked through many sites and have found out nothing. I think it must be because the reports are printed only quarterly. If you hear anything, will you please post it or respond by email?

  4. they got 3-4 years each and blamed in on a drug habit and they will have 18 months taken off for completeing a rehab course. so all in all they will be out in a year

  5. From what we understand, their sentencing date was postponed to September 13 (this past Friday)

    we lost our home in Pittsburgh PA from these guys and lost big time as well.

    contact Dept of Justice to see about a blanket letter that anyone involved with this case have their foreclosure removed from their credit.

  6. Mark Farhood and Jason Sant received their sentencing recently. Farhood got 11 years in prison with 3 years supervised release. Sant got 6 years in prison with 2 years of supervised release. They were also ordered to forfeit approx. $2 million in fraud proceeds to the government, along with various bank accounts and other assets. In my mind, it is not enough.

  7. if anyone has any advice on potentially getting this “mess” off of our credit standing please let us know. we were informed that potentially the foreclosure could be removed by sending paperwork to both the bank (who held mortgage) and 3 primary credit agencies. has anyone else done this? i sent all my paperwork 1st to Transunion to see what type of response i might get.

Leave a Reply

*

Text formatting is available via select HTML.

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>