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San Diego Real Estate Scam Uncovered

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

The San Diego County District Attorney's Office says a real estate fraud scheme that caused 400 county homeowners to lose their homes is broken up. Officials say the scam preyed on people who were in the grips of foreclosure. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has the story.

Law enforcement officials say five people were at the heart of a home foreclosure rescue same. Authorieies say together they forced three illegal businesses by the names of Land Grant Services, KBS Resources and the Federal Land Grant Company.

Those businesses targetted Spanish-speaking homeowners facing foreclosure. The suspects promised to bring their homes out of foreclosure if they paid a one-time fee of up to $10,000.

They also engaged in a lease-back scheme in which homeowners paid 500 dollars or more in hopes of having the company pay their mortgage and rent their homes back to them. In both cases the homeowners were evicted and no longer had legal ownership over the properties.

Officials say the suspects swindled the homeowners of hundreds of thousands of dollars. So four have been arrested. They're facing 100 felony charges. Penalties include jail time. Officials also say many of the victims have been difficult to locate. They’re encouraging anyone with information to call the District Attorney's Office.

Ana Tintoclais, KPBS News.

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