Foreclosure Victims Fight Back

March 17, 2009 10:15:38 PM PDT
A Fresno man who doesn't want to be identified said he's embarrassed about paying $2500 for foreclosure help and getting nothing for it. "They seemed very nice and reassuring. They made us feel real comfortable with the move we were making."                 |   HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies   |

Instead of enjoying his 2 week old baby boy he and his wife are trying to track down anyone from People's First Financial in San Diego, the company that promised to renegotiate their mortgage six months ago. He said, "We thought it was high but we thought if we could renegotiate our loan and secure our future then it was worth the money." But once they paid the couple said they couldn't get in touch with anyone from People's First Financial. "That's when we started to think, we've been scammed."

Action News has found other consumer complaints about People's First Financial, but no record of an official investigation against them. Kirk Sheriff with the U.S. Attorney's office said, "We happen unfortunately to be in a hot spot for the mortgage crisis in this country. That's gonna draw in people that are committing these frauds."

Sheriff believes it's impossible to know how many homeowners have fallen victim to foreclosure rescue offers because some are too ashamed to report it. But people who do come forward with foreclosure rescue problems have a powerful new task force going after the scam artists.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Harriet Dugal said, "It's outrageous that things like that happen to others, it's extremely sad that's why we decided to join forces." The FBI and the US Attorney's office are working with local, state and other federal agencies from Stockton to Bakersfield specifically going after foreclosure con artists.

Sandy White with Fraud Core investigates suspicious loan modification companies and demands refunds for victims. She said, "I can't answer the phone fast enough to help people. In the last 4 to 6 months we've recovered already about $80,000 for consumers." She said homeowners should avoid responding to flyers, phone calls, and emails from companies promising to save your home from foreclosure, especially those asking for thousands of dollars up front.

The Fresno man who thinks he may have gotten ripped off said, "We're pretty upset. We're being forced to look into other options now, walking away from this house being one of them."

Action News tried to contact People's First Financial about our Fresno couple by phone and through email. We are waiting for a response. There are lots of agencies in the Valley that will help you with loan modifications and foreclosure issues for free.

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