Archives For loan modifiation

Charles Wayne Farris, 55, Aliso Viejo, California, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter for the Central District of California to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with his role as the sales manager of a multi-million dollar fraudulent mortgage modification scheme.

Farris admitted that, between October 2008 and June 2009, he participated in a scheme to induce homeowners to pay between $3,500 and $5,500 for the services of the Rodis Law Group (RLG) and a successor entity, America’s Law Group (ALG).  RLG and ALG advertised on radio stations nationwide, urging struggling homeowners to call a toll-free number and stating that the companies consisted of “a team of experienced attorneys” who were “highly skilled in negotiating lower interest rates and even lowering your principal balance.”  In fact, RLG and ALG were telemarketing operations that never had teams of experienced attorneys.  During much of the scheme, Ronald Rodis was the only attorney at RLG.

Farris supervised a sales force of dozens of telemarketers who fielded calls from struggling homeowners.  At Farris’s direction and using scripts that he created, the telemarketers made numerous misrepresentations regarding the companies’ ability to negotiate loan modifications from the homeowners’ mortgage lenders.  For example, the telemarketers stated that RLG and ALG had been in business for 11 years when in fact the company had only opened in October 2008.  They falsely stated that RLG and ALG routinely obtained positive results for homeowners, including lower monthly payments, reductions in principal balance and lower interest rates.  In fact, positive results were rarely achieved for any RLG or ALG clients.  Telemarketers also falsely reiterated that homeowners would have a team of attorneys and real estate professionals assigned to their case.

In a plea agreement filed in federal court, Farris admitted that the RLG and ALG schemes fraudulently obtained approximately $9 million from more than 1,500 victims. His sentencing is on April 17, 2017.

This defendant managed an entire team of people whose sole job was to lure struggling home owners into the fraud scheme,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker of the Central District of California. “It is because of Mr. Farris that so many people were victimized for so much money.”

This defendant supervised dozens of telemarketers who used lies and false promises to take money from struggling homeowners for a worthless service,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “We will continue to prosecute all kinds of mass-marketing and telemarketing fraud schemes, especially those that prey on vulnerable victims.”

The defendants in this case preyed upon vulnerable homeowners facing the loss of their home and callously took advantage of what hope they had left,” said Assistant Director in Charge Deirdre L. Fike of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “Paid advertisements can lend a veneer of credibility to any scam, and I would encourage anyone considering paying fees up front for services to be skeptical before handing over hard earned money.”

Farris was charged along with two co-defendants, Bryan D’Antonio and Ronald RodisRodis pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud on June 27, 2016.  D’Antonio is charged with 23 felony counts.  He is charged with nine counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  Each of these counts carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.  In addition, D’Antonio is charged with 13 counts of criminal contempt for violating a 2001 federal court order, which permanently banned D’Antonio from participating in future telemarketing operations.  Criminal contempt of court has no statutory maximum penalty.  D’Antonio is scheduled for trial beginning September. 20, 2016.

This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph T. McNally of the Central District of California and Trial Attorney John W. Burke of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch.


Ligia Sandoval Spafford (Sandoval), 48, Roseville, California, was sentenced  by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley to two years and three months in prison for a scheme to defraud distressed homeowners Sandoval was ordered to self-surrender on June 9, 2016.

Sandoval paid $115,065.00 in restitution, the full amount of restitution ordered by the Court, to compensate the victims for the losses that they incurred as a result from this fraud scheme. In February 2015, Sandoval and her then husband, Martin Wayne Flanders, 51, Roseville, California, pleaded guilty to mail fraud for the fraud scheme. On October 29, 2015, Flanders was sentenced to six years and five months in prison.

In sentencing, Judge Nunley stated: “She knew what was going on and enticed these people to become part of this scheme. They trusted her. … She ruined some peoples’ lives. That she paid restitution does not do anything to take away from the anxiety and fear they [the victims] had at the time that this was occurring. These victims were devastated.Continue Reading…

Roscoe Umali, 38, Los Angeles, California; Jefferson Maniscan, 34, Los Angeles, California; Raymund Dacanay, 47, Los Angeles, California; Isaac Perez, 33, Los Angeles, California; and Joshua Johnson, 36, Los Angeles, California;  pleaded guilty for their roles in a nationwide home loan modification scam that defrauded over 400 homeowners out of over $3.8 million.

According to statements of facts filed with their plea agreements, from at least October 2012 through September 2014, the defendants and their co-conspirators targeted struggling homeowners and made a series of misrepresentations to induce those homeowners to make payments of thousands of dollars in exchange for supposed home loan modification assistance.  Operating under the names of fictional companies like “Equity Restoration Group,” the defendants falsely held themselves out as a non-profit organization or as affiliated with a real government program, the “Home Affordable Modification Program” (HAMP), designed to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure. Through mass mailings, phone calls, faxes, and emails with their victims, the defendants convinced homeowners to send them “reinstatement fees” and to make several monthly “trial mortgage payments” to the conspiracy, rather than to the homeowners’ lenders.  The defendants then did nothing to help modify any mortgages.  Instead, they used the victims’ payments for their own personal benefit and to further the fraud scheme. Continue Reading…

Rene de Jesus de Leon, 47, Silver Spring, Maryland, his wife, Pedrina Rodriguez Bonilla, 37, Silver Spring, Maryland, and Ana Maritza Gomez, 43, Hyattsville, Maryland, were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges arising from a residential mortgage fraud scheme.

According to the 10-count indictment and court documents, from at least January 2011 to August 2015, the defendants told homeowners who wanted to modify their mortgage loans and prevent foreclosure of their homes that — for an upfront fee, which was usually between $2,000 and $6,000, subsequent monthly payments and a back-end consulting fee — the defendants could lower the homeowners’ monthly payments and allow them to pay off their loans more quickly. The defendants told the victims to make monthly payments to the defendants and to companies they controlled, in lieu of to the homeowners’ lenders, as part of a “principal reduction consulting program.” The companies controlled by defendants were named Marketing Multiservices LLC and Innovative Solutions Services LLC.

According to the indictment and court documents, the conspirators mailed monthly invoices to the homeowner victims. Some of the victims paid Gomez in person each month at her residence, or a co-conspirator would go to the home of the victim to pick up the monthly payment. The defendants told the victims not to open any mail from their lenders and instead provide it to the conspirators. The indictment alleges, however, that the defendants did not negotiate with lenders of behalf of the homeowners.

According to the affidavit supporting the complaint against Bonilla and Gomez, one victim who was actually current on his mortgage made payments to the program, in lieu of his lender, totaling approximately $50,000, including the initial fee. The victim stopped making payments when he received a foreclosure notice from his lender. Another victim told investigators that she made payments to the program totaling at least $20,000, but nevertheless was evicted from her house, had her cars towed, her dogs boarded and her belongings put on the front lawn.

The defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, and 20 years in prison for each of nine counts of mail fraud.  De Leon and Bonilla are currently detained.  Initial appearances for the three defendants have not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Rene Febles of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG); Special Agent in Charge Cary A. Rubenstein of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG); Chief Henry P. Stawinski of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Postal Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division; and Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FHFA-OIG, HUD-OIG, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County Police Departments, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristi N. O’Malley and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jolie F. Zimmerman, who are prosecuting the case.