Trial found ring guilty of “foreclosure rescue scam”
After a five-week trial a federal jury has found three men guilty of operating an Orange County-based “foreclosure rescue scam” that extracted more than $5.7 million in equity from victims’ homes.
Convicted were former Los Angeles resident, Charles Head, 36; Benjamin Budoff, 46, of Colorado Springs; and Domonic McCarns, 39, of Irvine.
U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner described Head as the leader of the operation that spanned from March 2005 to June 2006. Evidence revealed in the just-completed trial, as well as a previous trial, demonstrated that Head and his co-conspirators caused more than $15 million in homeowner losses.
The scam employed several various company names, including Head Financial Services and Creative Loans.
Defendants convicted on “foreclosure” scam and mail fraud
All three defendants were convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and Head was also convicted of three additional counts of mail fraud. He had also previously been convicted of running a separate “equity-skimming scheme,” Wagner said.
Head, McCarns, Budoff and other defendants approached homeowners facing foreclosure, offering aid to help them stay in their homes as well as help repair their credit, according to the evidence presented during the trial.
Using misrepresentation and fraud, they substituted straw buyers for the victims on property titles without the homeowners’ knowledge.
Once the titles had been switched, Heads, McCarns, and Budoff obtained new mortgages that allowed them to extract maximum equity from the homes.
Wagner said, “The victims were left with no home, no equity and with damaged credit ratings.” He continued, “Charles Head, DomonicMcCarns and Benjamin Budoff preyed on the victims’ fear of losing their homes, and then took advantage of those victims’ predicament to steal from them their last remaining equity.”
The ongoing investigation has yielded 16 convictions, and “our work is not done,” Wagner said.