Hispanics Targeted in Mortgage Scams

LAS VEGAS -- Four loan modification firms were ordered to shut down by a state agency in the last two weeks. They were accused of swindling thousands of dollars out of struggling homeowners, in exchange for broken promises.

"What these companies were doing was offering loan modification and foreclosure relief service without delivering on any of what they were promising to provide," said Fight Fraud Task Force Chairperson Elisabeth Daniels. "Although (scams are) going down overall, it's actually increasing somewhat within the minority community, particularly the Hispanic community."

The Department of Business and Industry shut down the Majestic Group and Nevada Sky Premier. Regulators also ordered Sierra Foreclosure Solutions and Homesafe America to cease operations. Dozens of Hispanics lost thousands of dollars.

"I think they're easy prey, more than anything else. The barrier of understanding how the mortgage process works or there's the barrier of language or just the barrier of understanding how to get help," said Alex Garza with the Nevada Association of Real Estate Professionals.

Garza says it's a matter of trust when it comes to cultural differences. But even if someone looks like you, you should let them earn your trust. 

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission banned fees for foreclosure relief services. If you question some of the help you're receiving, call Nevada's Department of Business and Industry at 486-4575.


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