State suspicious of foreclosure company

July 16, 2009 7:57:18 PM PDT
Even though the housing market is picking up, there are still many homeowners on the verge of losing their houses. One California company offering to help has been told to knock it off by the state.

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This company is well known around the state and has a web presence. But it doesn't have a real estate license.

PRG$ Systems transforms default and foreclosure into equity and lower payments.

It didn't work that way for Felipe Carranza who was faced with a repossession notice on his front door. He's packing up and leaving his San Diego home, even though he paid PRG$ Systems to help make the foreclosure stop.

"I just want my house back," said Carranza.

There have been complaints against PRG$ Systems in the Bay Area too.

The San Diego-based company is accused of offering to help stressed homeowners hang on to their houses. Now the state is moving in.

"He's doing solicitation of borrowers and helping them with modification or with the sale of their homes and he's doing that for money for expectation of compensation," said Thomas Pool from the Department of Real Estate.

The state filed an order to desist and refrain. Owner Pablo Gonzalez fired off a letter in response saying he helps homeowners, but doesn't need a license because he is:

  • Not representing clients.
  • He is an investor.
  • Seminars he offers are not under the control of the department of real estate.

"In 1981 we revoked his real estate license for violation of the real estate law," said Pool.

This is not Gonzalez's first run-in with the state. His real estate license was taken away nearly 30 years ago and a restitution fund paid out cash related to Gonzalez's dealings.

"The allegation was he collected earnest money deposit for a real estate transaction and converted it to his own use and took the money," said Pool.

A hearing will now be set and the Department of Real Estate and Gonzalez will duke it out.

We will keep track of this, but it speaks to the complexity of today's housing market. The bottom line is to start with a non-profit if you run into difficulties.

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