Santa Barbara- S County

Homeowners Fall Victim to Real Estate Fraud Scheme

Homeowners Fall Victim to Real Estate Fraud Scheme

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced the filing of an 86-county felony real estate fraud complaint reflecting the arrests of Ismael Cancinos and Mercedes Alvarez.

Chief Deputy District Attorney, Kelly Scott, said crimes similar to this fraud happen all across the state.

"They never received the assistance they were promised," said Scott about the 30 victims.

In many cases, Santa Maria homeowners lost their homes, while others lost as much as $20,000.

"When people are facing the loss of their home they're particularly vulnerable," Scott said.

Scott said, "They promised them to save their homes, or modify their homes by taking up front fees from them and then disappearing. They never received the fees they were promised."

Prosecutors want home owners to know how to spot this kind of foreclosure rescue scheme, Scott said asking for any up front fees is illegal.    

"There must be a contract and that contract has to be in writing and in the language spoken by the consumer."

Homeowners should only work with people who are licensed by the state department of real estate.

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