Michael Sinclair has pled guilty to fraudulently operating a foreclosure rescue scam in Las Vegas, Nevada, under the business name of Federal Housing Aid.
In addition, Sinclair must pay $60,000 in restitution to the victims of the scam. Sinclair was recently extradited from the Philippines, where he fled after learning of the indictment against him.
Per the indictment, using a call center located in the Philippines, Sinclair and his business partner, William Vargas, operated Federal Housing Aid, a company that claimed to offer loan modification services to assist victims in avoiding foreclosure on their homes. The operation had been in business since February 2007. The two defendants charged the victims between $899 and $1500 in upfront fees and offered a 100% money back guaranty, claiming their company would refund the money if the foreclosure could not be stopped. After paying for services, the defendants failed to provide the services paid for and failed to provide refunds as promised in their advertisements.
On November 3, 2009, Vargas pled guilty to one (1) Count of Theft-Obtaining Money in Excess of $250 by Material Misrepresentation from a person over the age of 60, a Category B Felony in violation of NRS 205.0832(1)(c), NRS 205.0835(3) and NRS 193.167 and one (1) Count of Attempted Theft-Obtaining Money in Excess of $250 by a material misrepresentation, a Gross Misdemeanor in violation of NRS 205.0832(1)(c), NRS 205.0835(3) and NRS 193.330. As part of his guilty plea, Vargas is required to pay restitution to the victims in the amount of $21,000.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 3, 2010 before Judge Villani in District Court Department 17.
“This is one more example of how mortgage fraud scammers prey on Nevadans,” said Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. “We will continue to send the message that these scammers are unwelcome in our State. We will find you and extradite you, if necessary, to see that justice is served.”
The case was investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which was created by Attorney General Masto in early 2008 to address mortgage fraud scams throughout Nevada. The task force works closely with other State agencies, including the Mortgage Lending Division, to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud crimes in Nevada.
Consumers who wish to report mortgage fraud are asked to contact the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection in Las Vegas at 702.486.3194 to obtain a complaint form.