Duly Noted

Attorney General files charges in Wayne County mortgage scam

Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced that Jeffrey Baker, 45, of Detroit, and Leroy Yeargin, Jr., 44, of Southfield, were charged with operating a fraudulent mortgage modification business defrauding approximately 272 victims out of $400,000.

“It is disgusting to take advantage of the families hit hardest by the mortgage foreclosure crisis based on pure greed,” said Schuette. “We will continue to work hard to secure justice for the victims affected by this scam.”

Baker and Yeargin together formed Wayne County Loan Modification in February, 2010. Baker and Yeargin allegedly took fees up front for what was represented to be mortgage modification applications.
They would typically charge one month’s mortgage payment as their fee. Allegedly, Baker and Yeargin would guarantee a mortgage modification with a reduced interest rate and a refund of half the fee if unsuccessful.  Approximately 272 victims allegedly paid an average of $1,500 for modification applications.  None of the applications were processed. In all, Baker and Yeargin allegedly defrauded consumers of more than $400,000.  The company ceased operations in Oct. 2010.

Schuette filed the following criminal charges against the two in Wayne’s 3rd Circuit July 1:

--One Count of Criminal Enterprises - Acquire/Maintain, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or fine of $100,000;

--One Count of Criminal Enterprises - Conspiracy, a felony punishable by up to 20 Years in prison and/or $100,000; and

--Four Counts of False Pretenses - $1,000 or more but less than $20,000, a felony punishable by up to 5 Years and/or a fine of $10,000, or three times the value of the money or property involved, whichever is greater.

Bond for Baker is set at $100,000 and bond for Yeargin is set at $50,000. Their Preliminary Examination is 8:30 a.m. July 15.

Citizens who believe they may have been victims of Baker and Yeargin’s scam are encouraged to file complaints with the Attorney General’s Office, www.michigan.gov/ag; click “File a Complaint.”

Schuette reminds Michigan homeowners that citizens do not need to pay to speak with their lender or servicer or to obtain outside assistance with mortgage issues. For free information on loan modification, call Michigan State Housing Development Authority at 866-946-7432.
"I encourage homeowners with mortgage concerns to contact free, state-certified housing counselors," said Schuette.  "You do not have to pay for assistance or to speak with your lender." 

Since taking office, Attorney General Schuette has charged and/or convicted 33 individuals and companies involved in mortgage relief scams.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.