Feds say Modesto firms scammed Hispanic homeowners
January 12, 2016
• HUD accuses firms of fraudulent mortgage “rescue” schemes
• “Families struggling to stay in their homes need real help, not false promises”
Three Modesto home loan modification companies and nine of their agents are charged Tuesday with violating the federal Fair Housing Act by targeting Hispanic homeowners for illegal or unfair loan audit and loan modification assistance because of their national origin, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing transactions, including those related to home mortgage loans, because of national origin.
“Families struggling to stay in their homes need real help, not false promises that make a bad situation worse,” says Gustavo Velasquez, HUD assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
HUD’s charge of discrimination alleges that The Home Loan Auditors LLC; Century Law Center LLC; SOE Assistance Center Inc., and their agents lured struggling Hispanic homeowners into paying thousands of dollars for home loan audits that the homeowners never received and modification services that had little, if any, value.
The companies allegedly exploited the homeowners’ limited-English proficiency and used deceptive marketing in Spanish, at times making false representations, in order to mislead them, HUD says. Ultimately, the homeowners lost their properties due to foreclosure.