Five men pleaded guilty to their roles in the nationwide home loan modification scam that defrauded over 400 homeowners more than $3.8 million, according to the office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
38-year-old Roscoe Umali, 34-year-old Jefferson Maniscan, 47-year-old Raymund Dacanay, 33-year-old Isaac Perez and 36-year-old Joshua Johnson, all targeted struggling homeowners and made a series of misrepresentations to get them fork over thousands of dollars in exchange for supposed home loan modification assistance.
The group of men operated under the names of fictional companies like “Equity Restoration Group,” falsely held themselves out as a non-profit organization or as affiliated with a real government program, the “Home Affordable Modification Program”, designed to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure.
The defendants apparently convinced homeowners to send them “reinstatement fees” and to make several monthly “trial mortgage payments” to the conspiracy, rather than to the homeowners’ lenders via mass mailings, phone calls, faxes, and emails.
Unfortunately, the defendants then did nothing to help modify any mortgages.
“Roscoe Ortega Umali, ringleader of a nationwide mortgage scam ring, and four of his co-conspirators pled guilty to swindling hundreds of desperate homeowners and will now face federal prison time and pay at least $1.2 million in restitution and forfeitures to their victims,” said Special Inspector General for TARP Christy Goldsmith Romero in a press statement.
“Umali and his cohorts made false claims of operating a non-profit company, brazenly used the U.S. Treasury seal on fabricated documents, and invented fictitious HAMP benefits. Victim-homeowners paid thousands of dollars in reinstatement fees and trial mortgage payments that never went to their respective lenders; instead Umali and his co-conspirators pocketed over $3.8 million,” added Romero.
The defendants lived in Los Angeles and each faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
The office of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Dana Boente, is also involved in the litigation.