Archives For Mortgage Assistance Scheme

Eliseo Delgado Jr., 40, Corona, California plead guilty on Monday to federal charges for fraudulently obtaining tens of thousands of dollars in mortgage assistance benefits under the portion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) intended for homeowners hardest hit by the 2007-09 economic downturn.

Delgado made the first known guilty plea by an individual to fraud charges regarding TARP’s mortgage assistance program.

According to court documents, in November 2014, Delgado knowingly submitted a false application for homeowner relief benefits under the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (UMA).

Delgado’s November 2014 application for homeowner relief benefits fraudulently stated that Delgado’s income had been reduced because of unemployment. In a “hardship letter” in support of his application for UMA benefits, Delgado wrote, “I have lost my job…I fell behind on my mortgage payments in 01/01/2014, earlier this year due to lack of income.” In fact, from 2009 to 2016, Delgado was self-employed at various businesses he had founded, and at no point was he unemployed. In total, Delgado fraudulently received $52,373 in UMA benefits from January 2015 until June 2016 – 18 months, the maximum length of time permissible under the program, according to court documents.

UMA was a federally funded program under TARP that was administered in California by the California Housing Finance Authority’s Mortgage Assistance Corporation under the name “Keep Your Home California.” The program was designed to help homeowners by providing temporary mortgage assistance to eligible low-to moderate-income homeowners who became unemployed. Congress passed TARP to stabilize the nation’s financial system during the financial crisis of 2008. In 2010, using TARP money, Congress established the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF), to provide targeted aid to families in states hit hard by the economic and housing market downturn.

United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal has scheduled an October 28, 2019 sentencing hearing, where Delgado faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by SIGTARP and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Weir of the Riverside Branch Office.

About SIGTARP

The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) is a federal law enforcement agency that targets crime at financial institutions or in TARP housing programs and is an independent watchdog protecting the interests of the America people. SIGTARP investigations have resulted in the recovery of $10 billion and 278 defendants sentenced to prison.

To report a suspected crime related to TARP, call SIGTARP’s Crime Tip Hotline: 1-877-744-2009. To receive alerts about reports, audits, media releases, and other SIGTARP news, sign up at

www.SIGTARP.gov. Follow SIGTARP on Twitter @SIGTARP.

Lawrence Adell Sefa, 65, Fenton, Michigan has pleaded guilty today to racketeering. The guilty plea follows charges filed against him in 2017 for using a fake mortgage assistance scheme to steal tens of thousands of dollars from 33 Michigan residents who were facing foreclosures.

Between 2012 and 2016, Sefa, through his company LAS Loan Assistance Centers, promised victims that he could negotiate mortgage modifications and save their homes from foreclosure. Instead of delivering on the services he promised, Sefa did little to nothing to obtain modifications for the victims and many lost their homes in the process. Following an investigation by the Department of Attorney General, it was determined a large portion of Sefa’s clients, in addition to those who already filed complaints, did not receive the promised services from Sefa or LAS.

Sefa pleaded guilty to one count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a 20-year felony late last month. The plea agreement includes three key stipulations:

  • If Sefa pays the entire restitution of $116,615 at or before sentencing, he agrees to be sentenced to 12 months of incarceration;
  • If Sefa pays half of the restitution at or before sentencing, his sentencing guidelines will be 24-40 months of incarceration; or
  • If Sefa pays no restitution at or before sentencing, his sentencing guidelines will be 30-60 months of incarceration.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel made the announcement.

At a time when Michigan families are on the verge of losing their homes, the last thing they should have to worry about is Michigan businesses that take advantage of them in the process,” Nessel said. “These are hardworking men and women who needed help, but instead got cheated out of money they could not afford to lose. My office is dedicated to protecting these residents and ensuring bad actors are brought to justice.”

Any restitution that remains unpaid at the time of sentencing will be paid to qualifying victims out of the $97 Million Homeowner Protection Fund to ensure they receive timely payments. The State of Michigan will then seek reimbursement from Sefa.

Sefa will be sentenced by Judge Cavanaugh Friday, Aug. 2, 2019.