General Crime

* Loan modification frauds that prey on distressed homeowners

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Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and other prosecutors around the state warned the public Tuesday to watch out for loan modification frauds that prey on distressed homeowners, including scams that target Latino homeowners.

O’Malley said in a statement,”Here in the Bay Area, we continue to uncover evidence of ongoing and ruthless scams to defraud the vulnerable of their homes.”She said, “The frauds are endlessly innovative and law enforcement, along with our business and community partners, must meet them with determination and commitment.

“O’Malley was joined at a news conference on the subject Tuesday by Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, California Deputy Attorney General Maggy Krell, San Mateo County District Attorney Chief of Inspectors John Warren, housing rights advocates, realtors and bankers. O’Malley said her office has a program called Homeowner Education and Loan Protection Program, or H.E.L.P., which addresses real estate crime on a multi-disciplinary and multi-system collaborative basis.

The program helps homeowners who are victims of loan modification fraud to file complaints. O’Malley warned people to be wary of companies that ask for fees upfront under the promise that they will work to reduce or eliminate their mortgages.

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