Phantom help, a form of California mortgage and real estate fraud, is a growing scam that preys upon those suffering from the current housing crisis. This scam, also known as “phony counseling,” is prosecuted mainly through California’s foreclosure fraud laws and grand theft laws. If convicted, the penalty for phantom help can be life changing, affecting both your freedom and your finances. The Law Offices of Bradley R. Corbett specialize in mortgage fraud defense. Our San Diego criminal defense lawyers will aggressively pursue the best possible outcome for your case.
What is Phantom Help?
Phantom help can be broken out into three separate situations:
- A “foreclosure consultant” targets a homeowner who is facing a pending foreclosure and charges an upfront fee for their assistance in delaying or preventing any foreclosure proceedings.
- An individual markets a home pending foreclosure to an unsophisticated homebuyer who doesn’t understand the escrow or title insurance processes. The seller collects a down payment and provides a fraudulent deed. The buyer then moves into the home unknowingly paying rent to the seller. It becomes an issue when the buyer is later evicted because a legitimate purchase has transpired.
- A consultant convinces a desperate homeowner to cut all communication with their bank, lawyer, creditor, etc. and instruct them to pay him/her their mortgage payment directly. The consultant then tells the homeowner that they are handling the payment for them and negotiating with the bank and creditors.
As with any criminal charge, there are legal defenses that the San Diego criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Bradley R. Corbett ready to fight your case with. Call or visit our offices today for a free case consultation.