There is an old saying, “A drowning man will grab even the edge of a sword.” For a homeowner drowning in debt, any assistance may seem beneficial. Unfortunately, there are scam artists that use a desperate situation to make a few quick bucks.
Case in point is an Austin, Texas, man who recently pled guilty to operating a foreclosure-rescue scam. Frederic Alan Gladle, 53, admitted that for four years he defrauded homeowners that netted him more than $1.6 million in fees. According to court documents, Gladle used different aliases and the stolen the identity of at least one person to set up a mobile phone number.
Gladle, who played linebacker on the University of Southern California’s 1978 national football championship team and is married to the 1984 Playboy Playmate of the Year, charged distressed homeowners fees in exchange for fraudulently postponing foreclosure sales. He faces two to seven years in prison.
In a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice, “Gladle admitted that he recruited homeowners whose properties were in danger of imminent foreclosure and falsely promised to delay the foreclosures for up to six months, in exchange for a fee of approximately $750 per month. Gladle, directly or through salespersons, directed homeowners to sign deeds granting fractional interest in their properties to debtors in bankruptcy proceedings whose names Gladle found by searching bankruptcy records. The debtors were unaware that their names and bankruptcy cases were being used by Gladle in his scheme. Gladle then sent the unsuspecting debtors’ bankruptcy petitions, and the deeds that transferred fractional interests to the debtors, to the homeowners’ lenders to stop foreclosure proceedings.”
The involvement of the federal bankruptcy process immediately stopped the foreclosure on the homeowner’s property and forced lenders to seek permission to proceed from the bankruptcy courts.
“This is the latest example of heartless criminal activity by an individual who sought to capitalize on the misfortune of those affected by hard economic times,” said Steven Martinez, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office. “Mr. Gladle defrauded victims trying to save their homes, further exploited those in debt by stealing their identities, and wreaked havoc on both banks and the bankruptcy courts by manipulating the system.”
If you are facing foreclosure, speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney and discuss your legal options. You may be eligible for home loan modification, including a principal and/or interest reduction; repayment or second mortgage lien stripping through Chapter 13 bankruptcy; or debt elimination under Chapter 7. Your attorney can explain your options and help you decide on a course of action that is best for your family without making matters worse, or involve you in illegal activity.