Bogus Foreclosure Rescue Scam
By Staff, Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott |
Fri, 16 Feb 2007
Attorney General Abbott Files Emergency Action Halting Bogus Foreclosure Rescue Operation
Asset freeze and restraining order granted by judge severely restricts activities of pair scamming homeowners
HOUSTON - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today filed a
legal action to stop a Houston woman from unlawfully exploiting
distressed homeowners, some of them elderly, who face imminent
foreclosure and eviction. Harris County District Judge David Bernal
granted a temporary restraining order and asset freeze this morning.
action cites Bobbie Heckard with fraudulently taking possession of the
home of an 85-year-old Houston man under the guise of helping the
homeowner prevent foreclosure. The man allegedly was led to believe he
was only allowing Heckard to consult with his mortgage company, but in
fact the transaction allowed her to take ownership of his home.
is an alarming trend we are beginning to see in Texas, and I caution
every homeowner to be wary of solicitations for foreclosure relief,”
said Attorney General Abbott. “I will take every legal means to see
that those who unlawfully strip homeowners of their right to own a home
are brought to justice and these consumers’ property restored.”
Attorney General took prompt action after learning of this unfolding
real estate deception. Today’s order also challenges Heckard’s
associate, Christopher Henderson, to whom she quickly transferred
ownership of the property after the Attorney General’s office contacted
her about its investigation. Henderson promptly established a $67,000
mortgage on the property fraudulently transferred to him from Heckard.
scheme is designed to induce homeowners into transactions they would
never consider if they knew the consequences. Heckard obtains a list of
homes facing foreclosure, then tries to convince the homeowners that
she offers foreclosure rescue services and will correspond with
mortgage companies to resolve the problems.
She then persuades
homeowners to sign forms allegedly authorizing her to contact the
mortgage companies on their behalf. In fact, the forms the homeowners
sign are deeds transferring ownership in the homes to Heckard. Once
Heckard obtains title to the property, she sells it, pockets the equity
and threatens to evict the original homeowner.
suit filed today asks the court to force the defendants to relinquish
all monetary gains derived from these transactions, return this money
to all victims and restore their property to them. The suit also seeks
a civil penalty of $250,000 if the court finds that the practices were
calculated to exploit a person over age 65, plus $20,000 per violation
of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The judge will
consider the Attorney General’s request for temporary injunction
against the defendants in a hearing set for Sept. 12 at 1:30 p.m. in
151st District Court.
Consumers may report what they believe to
be fraudulent foreclosure relief operations by contacting the Office of
the Attorney General at (800) 252-8011 or by visiting the agency’s Web
site at www.oag.state.tx.us.