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Grand jury indicts 11 in home foreclosure scheme

Buying a home is a mark of adulthood and accomplishment in Florida. People often spend years establishing their careers, getting financially secure and saving up money before making the move to homeownership. When these homeowners fall on hard times and are faced with home foreclosure, it can be easy to be fooled by those looking to make money off of another's misfortune.

Investigators say that multiple alleged schemes targeting homeowners near or already in foreclosure prompted  a federal grand jury to indict 11 people across various states. Those charged are accused of offering to negotiate with lenders or to buy mortgages at a discounted price. The organizations running these schemes charged a fee for these services, which were supposed to help homeowners trying to avoid losing their homes. Prosecutors say they never actually performed any of those functions.

The organizations involved with the alleged scam are believed to have used multilevel marketing techniques to get their affiliates to aggressively sign up distressed homeowners. These affiliates were given commissions for these recruits and the organizations also sent out tens of thousands of postcards advertising their services with misleading claims. The homeowners were apparently identified using public court records and online databases, which provided information on homeowners who had already received notices for foreclosure.

In general, things like negotiating directly with lenders or filing for bankruptcy are effective at stopping home foreclosure. Unfortunately, this does not stop unscrupulous individuals from targeting Florida homeowners. Because of this, it is generally a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney before moving forward with efforts to stop foreclosure.

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