Homeowners in Lake County and all across the nation are still struggling with financial challenges; for many, foreclosure is looming in the near future. Desperate to find a way to keep their home and get out of debt, some people fall victim to scams as did thousands of homeowners in California and Nevada.

The victims were duped by a man who claimed to be running a mortgage rescue company. Collectively, they paid more than $3 million dollars to his company for upfront fees and monthly payments. The homeowners were told that he was replacing their mortgage with an installment loan for a fraction of the price of their mortgages—a mere 25 percent of the principal. Instead of stopping foreclosure and finding relief, many of the homeowners lost their homes. The man told them to stop paying their mortgage companies and assured them that even if they received notices from the lenders, their debt was taken care of and they didn’t need to do anything else. An investigation by law enforcement authorities eventually led to the arrest of the man for mail fraud. While he was in jail awaiting trial, his wife and another person continued the scam; both have now been arrested.

Residents of Lake County are urged to be cautious when looking for alternative means of debt relief. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Instead, you may want to speak with a bankruptcy attorney about the possibility of filing for Chapter 7. This is often a viable option to stop foreclosure and get out of debt.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, “Two arrested, accused of central roles in foreclosure rescue scheme,” Cathy Locke, September 12, 2013.