Nevada AG Returns $43K to Victims in Loan Mod Scam - 8 News NOW

Nevada AG Returns $43K to Victims in Loan Mod Scam

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Jesus Baca Jesus Baca
Ramon Dy-Ragos Ramon Dy-Ragos
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

LAS VEGAS -- Seven people scammed by a business called Save Your House got restitution checks and Nevada state Attorney General Catherine Cortez is offering their experience as a lesson for homeowners seeking help to avoid foreclosures.

Masto on Wednesday said quick restitution as part of a plea deal is a first for her office.

In all, Masto says 12 victims received checks averaging $3,000 for fees lost between August 2008 and July 2009 to Las Vegas-based Save Your House.

Accepting a restitution check for almost $4,000, Cynthia Stockton said she still can't believe she was taken in by a scammer.

"Who wants to be a victim?" she said. "I know I never think of myself as a victim."

Attorney Ramon Dy-Ragos and business owner Jesus Baca got probation last month after each pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor conspiracy charge. Company employee Luis Baca was sentenced to time served in jail.

In 2008, Stockton and at least 11 others paid thousands of dollars to the three men through their company, Save Your House. Eventually, Stockton said, she knew her money was gone.

 "They wouldn't return phone calls and the doors were locked," she said.

Masto says banks don't seek up-front money for loan modifications, and people should watch for other signs of fraud.

Todd Grosz, an investigator for the attorney general's office, said it is unknown how many people were scammed.

"The lobby was filled with people," he said. "Everybody said the same thing."

Masto Cortez said there are several red flags to look out for:

* No one can absolutely guarantee they can save your home;

* Watch out for any company that asks for money up front;

* No legitimate company will ask you to sign over the deed to your home or sign paperwork you have not yet read;

* Be wary of some companies that say they are government-run lenders.

The attorney general's office is investigating about 50 similar loan modification cases.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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