San Diego RCFL Assisted Successful Mortgage Fraud Prosecution
1/19/12: San Diego RCFL Assisted Successful Mortgage Fraud Prosecution
The San Diego RCFL (SDRCFL) provided digital forensics expertise to investigators looking into a fraudulent loan modification company which promised nearly 4,000 desperate homeowners help with renegotiating the terms of their mortgages, but instead bilked them out of millions of dollars. On December 16, 2011, Gary Michael Bobel, 59, Scott Thomas Spencer, 35, Mark Andrew Spencer, 32, and Travis Corey Iverson, 35, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in federal court. A fifth defendant, Roger Jones, pleaded guilty to conspiracy a year ago and was sentenced to 21 months in prison.
According to court documents, Bobel opened up a loan modification business in North County in 2008 where he and others promised homeowners to modify their mortgages for a fee ranging from $1,995 to $4,495. The company used a variety of aggressive marketing techniques including telemarketers who boasted a 98 percent success rate renegotiating loans. And it worked. Between 2008-2010, Bobel and his partners raked in more than $11 million.
The FBI defines mortgage fraud as, "...a growing crime which is a material misstatement, misrepresentation or omission relied on by an underwriter or lender to fund, purchase, or insure a loan...Mortgage fraud also included schemes targeting consumers such as foreclosure rescue, short sale, and loan modification." In 2010, RealtyTrac reported 2.9 foreclosures — a 23 percent spike since 2008. Click here and read the FBI's 2010 Mortgage Fraud Report.
The conspiracy and tax evasion charges are each punishable by five years in prison and $250,000 fine or, for conspiracy, twice the gross gain from the offense. A sentencing date has not been set at this time.
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