JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KAIT) - Attorney General Jay Nixon is stepping in to stop those whom he says are preying on Missouri homeowners facing foreclosure or financial difficulties due to the housing crunch.
Monday, Nixon launched Operation Stealing Home by filing seven lawsuits in Buchanan, Greene, Henry, Jackson, St. Louis and St. Charles counties in the Show Me State. The suits are against individuals and businesses Nixon says are defrauding consumers through refinancing, advance fee and foreclosure consulting scams. Some of these cases saw victims losing their homes and ending up worse financially than they were before.
Nixon says certain "unscrupulous" people will try to take advance of folks in a hard time under the "guise of help."
Nixon hopes the lawsuits will send a message to predators in the financial system that mortgage fraud will not be tolerated in Missouri.
So how are people preyed upon? According to the Missouri State Attorney General's office, individuals or businesses will convince a homeowner to deed his or her property to the person or business, who will then rent it back out to the original homeowner on the premise that the rent will make the mortgage payments and offer a profit to the company.
Nixon says that these companies are not using the rent to make the mortgage payments, however, which has resulted in foreclosure proceedings.
The companies allegedly involved in these that are being sued are:
- St. Anthony Avenue LC in St. Louis County
- Private Funding Solutions in St. Charles County (and it's president, Mike C. Rothweiler)
- Brian J. Thompson of Springfield (who does business as "All Decked Out.")
- Access Mortgage and Financial Corp. of Lansing, Mich.(and agents David Snyder and Josh Nowell) in Henry County
Nixon is also suing the following mortgage brokers:
- Christopher E. Cosma of St. Peters and three companies he was an agent for (America One Finance, Inc., Accredited Home Lenders and Castle Point)
- Fouquet Financial Services Inc. of St. Joseph County, and it's president, Joseph M. Fouquet.