Rickey White, 46, Westland, Michigan, faces criminal charges for collecting upfront fees and impersonating a mortgage modification company.
The investigation revealed that from December 2009 through May 2011 White allegedly operated two companies that were marketed as mortgage modification businesses: Braunstein & Associates and Expert Financial.
It is alleged White offered prospective clients mortgage loan modifications for a fee, with a full money-back guarantee. White allegedly told victims his companies employed expert attorneys who would review their lender files to pre-qualify the homeowner for a mortgage loan modification. White allegedly assured clients his attorneys would file the modification proposals with the homeowner’s lender on their behalf. Investigation revealed that White allegedly had no attorneys on staff, and that modification proposals were either incomplete or never actually submitted to the banks.
It is also alleged White operated Expert Financial from December 2009 through September 2010. During this time, White allegedly victimized more than 300 clients, who lost a total of $700,000. When White learned his company was being investigated, it is alleged he closed Expert Financial and opened Braunstein & Associates. From September 2010 through May 2011, it is alleged White victimized at least 60 homeowners, who were scammed out of more than $100,000.
White and his company, Braunstein & Associates are each charged with the following:
One count of Conducting Criminal Enterprises (Racketeering), a felony punishable by up to twenty years in prison;
Two counts of False Pretenses – $1,000-$20,000, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or three times the value of money or property involved.
The criminal charges come as the result of an investigation by the Attorney General after complaints against the company were filed with Attorney General Schuette’s Consumer Protection Division
“Foreclosure rescue scam artists attack Michigan homeowners who are struggling financially and fighting to stay in their homes,” said Schuette. “Instead of helping families stay above water, these criminals push them back under. We are working hard to dismantle these predatory operations and connect victims with free foreclosure assistance.”
Citizens who believe they may have been victims of Braunstein & Associates or Expert Financial are encouraged to file complaints with the Attorney General’s Office.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.