Mortgage Scams

The Office of the Minnesota Attorney General filed a fraud complaint against Barnett & Associates charging the firm is taking up-front money for the mortgage elimination scheme that appears to be a fraud. Asst. Atty. Gen. Christian Walker says his office has received complaints from persons who have paid as much as $7,500 up-front to have their mortgages eliminated and after months nothing has happen.

The allegations against Barnett & Associates are misrepresentations about eliminating mortgages, false advertising, claims that money will be refunded, and the claim that the mortgage elimination scheme is tested and proven.

As of this reporting (Dec. 8, 2003) Barnett & Associates has not answered the charges or responded to the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. The Troubleshooter Office has also received e-mails from persons across the U.S. who have paid up to $2,000 for the mortgage elimination scheme and three or more months have past and nothing has happened and they cannot get their money back. The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the U.S. Treasury has issued an alert stating this mortgage elimination scheme is a total scam and fraud. —end update Dec,2003—

There are several companies advertising on the Internet, that claim that they can completely eliminate your mortgage.

These companies have web sites that go into great detail about the workings of the banking system, federal reserve, etc. They make the statement that the lender committed fraud when you (the buyer) were not informed at the closing of your real estate transaction, that the bank/lender would fractionalize your note, thereby making a lot of money on your signature. The first advertisements stated that your mortgage could be eliminated, based upon this “fraud”.

A few months later, they changed their “system” and have recently been claiming that they use a “bond” for discharging the debt. There was an OCC alert to banks and lenders, advising that elimination companies were using fictitious financial instruments to eliminate legal debt. They did list some of these mortgage elimination companies that were doing this. Of course, each company claims to have the only “real” system to eliminate your mortgage.

At this writing, (Oct. 2003) there has been no documentable proof that ANY mortgages have been cleared.

In this age of financial unrest across the country, scammers are using any means available, to relieve people of their money. I believe this is the case with mortgage elimination. Many homeowners are being sucked into this scam when they are convinced that for just $1995.00 up front they can eliminated their entire mortgage. Remember the “Scammer Fight Back Saying,” If it is too good to be true, it’s a SCAM!

Editor’s Note: This is a copy of an Alert sent to Banks warning of a bond scheme dealing with mortgages and other financial documents. Remember never pay upfront to refinance or take part in any debt elimination.

ALERT from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Subject: Illegal Financial Activity
Description: Fictitious Debt Elimination Schemes

Date: October 1, 2003
TO: Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks; All State Banking Authorities; Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsel and All Examining Personnel

RE: Debt Elimination Schemes using Fictitious or Worthless Bonds, Due Bills and Bills of Exchange

Please be advised that worthless instruments entitled “Bond for Discharge of Debt”, “Bill of Exchange,” “Due Bill,” “Redemption Certificate,” or other similarly titled documents continue to be presented to financial institutions, mortgage companies, credit card issuers, and retail establishments throughout the United States in an effort to eliminate legitimate debts. Many of these schemes are premised on baseless or fraudulent claims against the United States Treasury, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Internal Revenue Service, or other federal or state agencies. (See also OCC Alert 2003-7 and OCC Alert 99-10).

Regardless of how such instruments or documents are titled or whether they appear authentic, they are worthless, have no legal validity, and are not payable through the United States Treasury, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Comptroller of the Currency, or any other federal or state agency. The OCC is aware of the following organizations and Web sites promoting these fraudulent schemes:
America’s Advantage
Financial Dynamics

The creation and presentment of these fictitious instruments may be a violation of Title 18, Section 514, Fictitious Obligations, or other federal criminal statutes, and any person(s) using such fictitious instruments with the intent to discharge valid debts may be subject to criminal prosecution. If a fraudulent document such as those described above is presented to your financial institution, do not return it. Instead, retain the document and file a Suspicious Activity Report. Deliver the instrument and a copy of the SAR to the local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Please direct any questions or provide further information to the attention of the OCC at:

Mail: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Enforcement & Compliance Division, MS 8-10
250 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20219
Telephone: (202) 874-4800
Fax: (202) 874-5301