From the Carlsbad Patch:
Four men pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego to stealing more than $11 million in a loan modification scam that preyed on desperate homeowners trying to save their homes from foreclosure.
Gary Michael Bobel, 59 of Carlsbad, Scott Thomas Spencer, 35, Mark Andrew Spencer, 32, and Travis Corey Iverson, 35, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. Bobel, also admitted that he failed to report approximately $489,308 in taxable income received in 2009 from 1st American Law Center. An employee of 1st American Law Center, Roger Trent Jones, pleaded guilty a year ago and was sentenced in March to 21 months in custody for his involvement in the conspiracy.
According to court documents, Bobel opened up the loan modification business in North County in 2008. The defendants used high-pressure sales tactics and outright lies to induce customers of 1st American to purchase loan modification services — for payments of $1,995 to $4,495 — such as falsely claiming to have a team of attorneys who pre-screened clients and having a 98 percent success rate in obtaining loan modifications.
Among other ruses, telemarketers pretended that their grandmothers got a loan modification through the company, that they had a special relationship with a particular client’s bank, or that the company had helped thousands of happy homeowners with loan modifications, prosecutors said. The telemarketers even persuaded homeowners to pay the company’s fees instead of using their limited funds to stay current on their mortgage payments, according to prosecutors.
Through the use of false representations and promises, 1st American Law Center fraudulently obtained more than $11 million in client payments between 2008 and 2010 from more than 4,000 homeowners across the country, prosecutors said.
From his classified ad two years ago – sound familiar? bobel ad
It is our mission and highest priority to provide Americans in every city with an ethical, affordable, and effective program in obtaining multiple solutions to financial freedom. Our vision is to create the largest and most reputable law firm in the country by providing education, customized client resolutions, and 100% customer service/satisfaction. It is evident, through the financial crisis that is taking place in all aspects of lending, that consumers need a personal advocate to help intervene. 1st American Law Center and Gary Bobel are committed to protecting all Americans from predatory lending and financial distress. It is our confident belief that success ultimately depends on establishing a customer service and relationship oriented environment, that instills the integrity in each team member in the crusade of “Protecting The American Dream.”