Oakland ranks 13th nationally in foreclosures and the district attorney in Alameda County says with that has come a tremendous spike in the number of scams that target those desperate to keep their homes.
"We will aggressively prosecute those individuals who commit loan fraud [and] who commit real estate fraud," said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley, who displayed photos of just some of the faces of those who've committed mortgage and real estate fraud in the Bay Area. "When people are in desperate times, and I mean victims who are suffering the economic crisis, they often times turn to desperate measures."
Those measures include turning to those who ask homeowners for money up front in exchange for help with a loan modification that never comes.
"As recently as two months ago we convicted two operators of a San Jose loan modification company called Legal Support Services of felony foreclosure consultant fraud involving over 80 victim homeowners," said Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen.
"There's a lot of people that have been victims of real estate fraud. They do not wish to come forward," said Ms. Roberts, a victim of a scam involving her Oakland home. She thinks many of those who prey on the elderly, especially, have already gotten away with it. "Look at all the people that have been victims of real estate fraud for all these years, and it may be for a lot of people too little too late."
Alameda County has a new program called HELP, which stands for Homeowner Education and Loan Protection. For more information on the program, click here.