Orange County Phantom Help Defense Attorney
With the massive real estate market collapse, many people in Southern California have started their own mortgage counseling companies. Unfortunately, various types of fraud are known to take place among sham mortgage counselors. In many cases, distraught homeowners have filed claims against real estate agents, alleging that they took their money without providing legitimate services.
Law enforcement acts quickly upon receiving such reports, potentially causing trouble for you and/or your firm. If your real estate office is under investigation for property fraud scheme, our professional Orange County criminal attorneys at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti are ready to help!
The most common crime of phantom help involves someone claiming to be a professional consultant with a real estate company. These "consultants" convince their clients that they will halt foreclosure on their house for a fee. In reality, though, they do not help their customers at all, even after homeowners pay them thousands of dollars.
Another type of phantom help scam takes place when an individual or real estate agent markets a foreclosed home to a buyer. The homebuyer, who is typically unaware of the legal processes involved, receives a forged deed. The victim then gives the person or agent a large down payment, moves into the house, and continues to make "payments" to the person or agent. When tried, this crime often invites additional charges of forgery and fraud.
Finally, the fraud can occur when a paid consultant instructs the homeowner facing foreclosure not to communicate with their lender, or any other parties involved, because they are taking care of all of the arrangements. In reality, they have taken the homeowner's funds and are guiding them to further financial trouble.
Phantom help schemes are often the work of a rogue real estate agent who takes advantage of desperate homeowners; however, as is the case with other real estate fraud crimes, investigators are quick to assume associated with a real estate scandal had something to do with the scheme.
In California, phantom help is considered a grand theft crime. Though it can be charged as a misdemeanor, this type of fraud is often considered a felony. If convicted, you could face up to three years in a state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. You could also face additional penalties, including fines and prison time, for defrauding the prosecuting party amounts of $65,000 or more.
Phantom help is a serious crime and can lead to severe penalties for you or your firm. Fortunately, as long as we can demonstrate that you did not have fraudulent intent, you should not be charged with this crime. Our real estate lawyers have over a decade of experience winning cases for clients accused of fraud.
Don't leave your reputation on the line— contact us at (714) 530-9690 today!
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.