Troubleshooter Alert: Broker jailed after mortgage scam
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The owner if a mortgage brokerage firm was in jail after he admitted to lying to distressed homeowners.
The broker had promised homeowners he could help them avoid foreclosure. But instead of helping struggling consumers keep their home, authorities contend the mortgage broker stole the equity in their home right out from under them.
Billy Turner said, “My mortgage was close to being foreclosed. Overwhelmed with that, I didn't know where to go, to whom kI could turn in all of this.”
Then Turner saw an ad in a Penny Saver flyer, “Stop foreclosure! Stop all of your mortgage worries!” So, Turner contacted Direct Money Source and met face to face with the CEO, David Singui.
“I signed all types of documents. I was relieved that I had saved my home,” said Turner.
Mark Trachtenberg, a US postal inspector, said, “They say they would buy their house and give the homeowner 12 months to rebuild their credit so that at the end of the year the homeowner would be able to buy their house back and they were going to be able to stay in the house the entire time.”
But, Turner quickly learned that was not the case when he started getting mail with his address but another name. After calling the state assessor's office Turner learned his home had been transferred to someone else.
Inspectors said that was Singui's plan all along. They found what they called "credit investors" which were actually straw borrowers people that sold their credit to the company for a few thousand dollars they allowed the company to purchase the home in their name. Then, those home borrowers would sign the home over to Direct Money Source for a fee.
Turner immediately called Sangui, “He was sitting across from me and he says, ‘You're home has been sold.’ I cannot use the word he used, but he said there isn't anything you can do about it.”
Turner lost his home but he also learned he was not alone, “I thought that the people were above the law, they had scammed us, defrauded us, many of us had lost our homes and there was no recourse.”
But, after receiving several complaints state and local investigators arrested Singui. The scheme was so sophisticated that it was difficult for the average consumer to detect as a fraud until it was too late.
However, Turner had advice for anyone feeling alone and desperate because their home was nearing foreclosure, “Take the time to breathe, assess the problem, and seek assistance and guidance.”
David Sangui was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison. He was also ordered to pay $4 million in restitution to his victims.