Industry News

Real estate scam ends in court settlement

Man must return properties or pay restitution

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A man accused of scamming Minnesotans out of their homes has agreed to return the properties or pay restitution. Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch on Monday announced the court settlement with James Hoffman, who had been accused of predatory financing schemes against 65 homeowners in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas, the Star Tribune reported. Hatch had accused Hoffman and his firms, Home Funding Corp. and Homeland Financial Corp., of "equity skimming" or "equity stripping" in violation of state consumer protection laws. The tactic often targets people who have substantial equity in homes that are in foreclosure. Hatch said Hoffman and his companies promised homeowners they would help them refinance their mortgages to save their homes. Some people, however, lost their homes and didn't realize it until months later, Hatch said. The settlement was reached midway through the trial against Hoffman and his companies. It calls for the defendants to return homes to seven former...