A new scam involving phony “forensic audits” of mortgage loans is the latest variation on loan modification scams. An article in the Sacramento Bee this week, reported that California Attorney General Jerry Brown warned California’s distressed homeowner’s to refrain from forensic review of their mortgage loan and lender’s practices. Jerry Brown issued a press release stating that these loan audits are nothing more than loan modification scams that are taking advantage of people’s desperation in the midst of the nation’s persisting economic troubles. He joined with the California Department of Real Estate and the State Bar of California to warn homeowners who face the danger of foreclosure, to avoid such scams because they offer no help towards saving their home from foreclosure.
The Latest among Many Loan Modification Scams
Last year, the California Department of Real Estate investigated more than 2,000 cases of loan modification scam and from that number, 350 scam operations were ordered to terminate their illegal activity according to the attorney general’s office.
According to the article, the spokesman for the attorney general, Evan Westrup, explained that “It’s the latest phony foreclosure-relief ’service’ by an industry that continues to be long on promises and short on results…another way to get homeowners in distress to pay for services that ultimately aren’t helping or providing the relief they need.”
The “Forensic Audit’ Loan Modification Scam
This particular scam entices homeowners through newspaper advertisements, as well as radio and television spots. The hook is to get homeowners to believe that they can find errors, improper documentation, or outright illegal activity in the way the mortgage was originated or within the loan itself. Supposedly, with such information, the homeowner will have sufficient leverage to fight the lender in the home loan-modification process with the hope of receiving assistance in keeping their home. The provider of such a noble service simply charges an upfront fee. Tragically, the audits provide no benefit, as they have nothing to do with helping those facing foreclosure proceedings.
Even Legitimate Forensic Loan Audits Provide Little Help
On the attorney general’s Web site, Jerry Brown stated: “Forensic loan audits are…hawked by loan-modification consultants trying to cash in on the desperation of homeowners facing foreclosure…there is no evidence or statistical data to support claims that forensic loan-audits — even if performed by a licensed, legitimate and trained auditor, mortgage professional or lawyer — will help homeowners obtain loan modifications or provide any other foreclosure relief.”
Brown’s warning comes now, even though in October of 2009, California outlawed the practice of prepaying for mortgage loan modification. In reality, it doesn’t appear to have stopped the more creative criminal minds.