Federal officials announced the indictments of 20 people Thursday in two California-based foreclosure rescue and equity-stripping schemes that allegedly netted more than $12 million from more than 100 victims who were left without their homes.
A 33-year-old Los Angeles resident, Charles Head, is accused of orchestrating both schemes, which allegedly used straw buyers to obtain title to the homes of troubled borrowers.
A federal grand jury indicted 16 people involved in an alleged foreclosure rescue scam on Feb. 28, which prosecutors said netted $6.7 million from 47 homeowners, nearly all in California.
Prosecutors said victims believed that they were making rental payments to "investors" whom they agreed to add to the title of their home. The "investors" were actually straw buyers who often replaced homeowners on the title. After taking out a new mortgage to extract the home’s equity, the defendants would sell the victims’ home, stop making the mortgage payments, or begin eviction proceedings against the victims, prosecutors said.
In a second, March 13 indictment, a federal grand jury indicted seven defendants — including Head and two others named in the Feb. 28 indictment — in connection with an alleged equity-stripping scheme that netted $5.9 million from 68 homeowners nationwide.
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