William Vargas and Michael Sinclair have been indicted on one (1) felony count of Theft of a Person 60 Years or Older and four (4) felony counts of Theft by Material Misrepresentation, for allegedly operating a foreclosure rescue scam in Las Vegas, Nevada, under the business name of Federal Housing Aid.
The indictment alleges that Vargas and Sinclair operated Federal Housing Aid since February 2007 offering loan modification services to assist victims in avoiding foreclosure on their homes. The Defendants allegedly charged the victims between $899 to $1500 in upfront fees and offered a 100% money back guaranty, claiming their company would refund the money if the foreclosure could not be stopped.
The company is alleged to have solicited victims in Nevada from a call center in the Philippines. After paying for services, it is alleged that the Defendants failed to provide the services paid for and failed to provide refunds as promised in their advertisements. Defendant Michael Sinclair is believed to be at large after fleeing to the Philippines.
Collection of fees upfront for services promised for loan modification is in violation of Nevada Revised Statute 645D.400, which makes it unlawful for a mortgage consultant to collect or receive any compensation until after the consultant has fully performed the consulting services that was contracted to perform or represented that would be performed. The State alleges that the defendants failed to provide the foreclosure rescue services and failed to refund the victim’s money as promised.
“Any individual who believes they can take advantage of the dire foreclosure market in the State of Nevada need to know they will be identified and prosecuted,” said Attorney General Masto. “Victimizing individuals who are desperately seeking a way to keep their property is the height of greed and cruelty.“
The case was filed by prosecutors assigned to the Attorney General’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which was created by Attorney General Masto in early 2008 to address mortgage fraud scams throughout Nevada. The task force works closely with other State agencies, including the Mortgage Lending Division, to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud crimes in Nevada.
A district court arraignment has been scheduled for William Vargas is set for June 23 at 9:00am in Las Vegas District Court Dept. 17.
The indictment is not a determination of guilt or innocence, but is a finding of probable cause that a crime was committed. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.