North Carolina Foreclosure Attorneys Can Help You Avoid Scams

March 21, 2012

After years of allowing banks and real estate companies to essentially run roughshod over underwater homeowners battling foreclosures in North Carolina and across the country, it appears the federal government is finally stepping in to mete out more severe consequences.

North Carolina foreclosure defense attorneys are encouraged by the news coming out of Colorado that a real estate investment company, known as Bella Homes LLC, is being sued by the feds on allegations of plundering vulnerable homeowners.

According to CNN, government officials say the scheme targeted people who were already going through the foreclosure process.  These were people who wanted to stay in their homes.

Bella Homes would persuade customers to transfer the titles of their homes to Bella Homes, LLC, and then would sign off to enter into a lease agreement.  The homeowners could then stay in the home and pay rent to the company.

The company promised that during the life of the lease, its employees would do everything possible to halt the foreclosure process. Homeowners saw it as a chance to stay in their homes and to potentially rescue their credit. (What they may not have realized is that a foreclosure doesn’t have to equal financial ruin. Talking with an experienced foreclosure attorney about your options is a good place to start).

But Bella Homes didn’t stop there. It created a “lease-option” where the homeowner was promised, in writing, the opportunity to repurchase their homes from Bella Homes within three years for most of its fair market value – and promised homeowners they would receive credit for more than half of the rent they paid to the company during the time the company owned it.

The problem, however, is that the company never did take over the mortgage or the payments in many cases. It never paid taxes on those properties and it never filed for insurance on these homes, and the homes went into foreclosure.  Although the federal lawsuit states that Bella Homes did take title to some properties, in some cases where North Carolina vicitims have contacted us, they have told us that after they “signed over” the property they were served with foreclosure paperwork that showed that the property was never transferred.  In other words, Bella Homes took their so-called “rent payments”, but never owned the property, and the homeowner is now facing foreclosure.

As U.S. Attorney John Walsh put it, the company preyed on giving false hope to homeowners who were desperate to stay in their homes.  The actions of the company wounded not only the more than 450 known homeowners around the country with whom it contracted, but the greater market as a whole.

For now, Bella Homes is forbidden to enter any more deals until the legal matters are settled – which likely means they won’t be able to operate again.  The company’s website has been taken offline, with the message “account has been suspended” appearing on the home page.  But you can find some of their video “pitches” on youtube, as of the date of this blog post.

Bella Homes isn’t disputing the facts as alleged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. It actually agreed to stop what it was doing, and has even arranged to set aside about a half million dollars to help pay restitution to its victims. However, that’s not likely to cover even a quarter of the money it allegedly swindled from homeowners.

The larger lesson in all of this is the old adage: If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. The best way for you to protect yourself – before you enter into any sort of deal – is to consult with experienced North Carolina foreclosure attorneys. He or she will work to help ensure that the decisions you act upon will make sense in your unique situation, and that you won’t be taken advantage of by your own bank. Or a scam. Or both.

Consult the North Carolina foreclosure defense attorneys  at Soboleski Law, P.C., for more information. We can also be reached at 828-285-8888.

Previous post:

Next post: