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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Judgment in National Multi-Million Dollar Mortgage Scam

LOS ANGELES — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced defendants who ran a national loan modification scam were ordered to pay more than $4 million in penalties and restitution, including $2 million to consumers who were falsely promised modifications of their mortgage loans.

More than 1,000 customers paid more than $2 million for loan modification services to Statewide Financial Group, Inc., which did business as US Homeowners Assistance and Webeatallrates.com, and was based in Orange County. In July 2009, the Attorney General’s office shut down the business, which had been in operation since January 2008.

“These defendants took advantage of vulnerable people in extremely difficult circumstances, including many who faced imminent loss of their homes,” said Attorney General Harris. “The significant financial penalties imposed by the court let scammers know that severe consequences will flow to those who defraud California consumers.”

The Orange County Superior Court ordered that every US Homeowners Assistance loan modification customer should receive a full refund upon request.  The defendants were also permanently enjoined from engaging in the conduct that led to the lawsuit and were ordered to pay $2 million in civil penalties.  It is unclear, however, how much money will be recovered and available to pay refunds or penalties.

The prosecution of this action took nearly three years, culminating in a multi-week bench trial in March 2012. The business’ owners, Zulmai Nazarzai and Hakimullah Sarpas and Fasela Sheren (who went by the name Sharon Fasela), were all found liable for violating California’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law.

In a separate proceeding in late 2010, Attorney General Harris successfully prosecuted Nazarzai for contempt of court for his refusal to turn over $360,000 unlawfully taken by defendants as ordered by the court. He has been incarcerated in the Orange County jail since December 2010 because of his continued refusal to comply with the court’s order.

Attorney General Harris formed the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force in May 2011 to investigate and prosecute crimes and wrong-doing related to mortgages, foreclosures, and real estate. The prosecution of this action is part of Attorney General Harris’ ongoing efforts to protect homeowners, which also includes the national mortgage settlement and the California Homeowner Bill of Rights.

Copies of the court’s judgment and statement of decision are attached to the online version of this release at www.oag.ca.gov.

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LAWYERS REALTY GROUP is an attorney owned and operated real estate brokerage that was formed to help level the playing field between struggling homeowners and the banks who are threatening them with foreclosure, eviction, deficiency judgments, and collection actions.

Unlike traditional real estate agents, loan mod companies, bankruptcy attorneys, litigators and others who aggressively market their particular one-size-fits-all solution regardless of a homeowner’s future liability and financial well-being, Lawyers Realty Group provides clients with a customized analysis of their options, free legal counseling and clear direction on how to best resolve their particular mortgage issues – all without charging fees to the homeowner.

 

Derik N. Lewis, Esq., is the founder and president of Lawyers Realty Group. Derik is a California real estate attorney, a licensed Realtor® and a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. He graduated magna cum laude from Boston University School of Law and has nearly 30 years of real estate experience. For more than two decades as an attorney in private practice, Derik has represented California homeowners with difficult real estate matters. Derik previously served as legal counsel for some of the world’s largest lenders including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase (he knows how they operate and how to work within their systems to help you achieve the best possible outcome). He is also a visiting lecturer at the University of Southern California School of Law speaking on real estate law, brokerage and litigation.

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  • California Association of Realtors
  • Orange County Association of Realtors
  • California Regional Multiple Listing Service

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