A 2009 California law protects homeowners forbidding any person or business to charge an upfront fee for loan modification services was breached.
The five are charged with at least seven counts of felony grand theft and other charges are:
- Jacob J. Cunningham, 24, of Irvine
- Justin D. Koelle, 23, of Costa Mesa
- Andrew M. Phalen, 25, of Mission Viejo
- Dominic A. Nolan, 30, of Irvine
- John D. Silva, 27, of Irvine.
Federal officials were assisted in the investigation by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Huntington Beach police, the California Department of Real Estate and other state and local agencies.
The 5 men started fraudulent businesses promising they could secure loan modifications for an upfront fee that was refundable if no help was obtained, but they kept the money, according to a statement Friday by Christy Romero, the inspector general who oversees the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Along with asking for upfront fees and pocketing home owners money they are also accused of regularly changing the names, phone numbers and addresses of the companies they operated, including CSFA Home Solutions, Mortgage Solution Specialists Inc., CS & Associates and National Mortgage Relieve Center.
Investigators said three of the men, Cunningham, Nolan and Silva operated a separate scheme in which they sent out forged “conditional approval” letters to homeowners with forged logos from popular mortgage banking departments of CitiFinancial or CitiMortgage. The letters allegedly promised potential
Three of the five can be found on Facebook. Below are their profile photos.