HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) — A mortgage relief company in California operating under at least 10 different names is temporarily shut down and its assets frozen under court order. It is accused of bilking homeowners out of millions of dollars.
In this well-manicured neighborhood in Hayward is the home that Abhend Sharma and his wife have lived in for 18 years. He’s been on medical leave, and now fears he might lose his home.
“Ohhh, boy,” Sharma said after a long pause.
He could barely put into words how he is feeling. He saved up for 34 years in order to purchase this home.
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“This house is everything for us. For me, for my family,” he said.
He turned to Golden Home Services America for mortgage relief. An agreement lists his new interest rate at 1.8%.
That’s a savings of nearly $1,800 a month from his current monthly payment.
“We signed everything. I signed all the paperwork. Whatever they needed. My bank statement and everything,” he said.
Everything they told him was on track for approval.
“So we thought everything would be good because they promised $3,400 a month would be your payment,” Sharma said.
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But after 14 months, final approval still hasn’t come.
Yet Golden Home Services America kept sending him a bill for more fees each month.
“Almost every month they were asking me for money and I was sending it to them. We’re close to about $20,000 I paid to them,” he said.
Suzanne Martindale is an attorney with the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, who filed the complaint along with the Federal Trade Commission.
“Consumers have forked out dollars up front for their services and all those results never materialized, never happens,” Martindale warned. “The complaint we have filed alleges these fees may be illegal.”
7 On Your Side contacted the attorney representing Golden Home Services America and the other companies named in the suit.
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He said, “I have no comment at this time. Thank you for your call.” Then he hung up.
“The consumer should be wary about again lofty promises of quick and easy savings with a high-pressure sales tactic to pay an upfront fee,” said Martindale.
Sharma meanwhile is hoping for the best but fearing the worst. “At the moment we are in jeopardy and we don’t know which way we are going to go,” he said.
7 On Your Side assisted Sharma in finding a HUD-certified housing counselor — one that won’t charge upfront fees to assist him in getting his loan refinanced.
Here are the defendants in the case:
- Amstar Service Group
- Atlantic Pacific Service
- Home Matters USA
- Golden Home Services America
- Academy Home Services
- Green Equitable Solutions
- South West Consulting Enterprises, Inc.
- Apex Consulting & Associates, Inc.
- Infocom Entertainment Ltd, Inc.
- Home Relief Service of America
- Roger Scott Dyer
- Dominic Ahiga (aka Michael Dominic Grinnell)
Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
7OYS’s consumer hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assist individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist on cases between businesses, or cases involving family law, criminal matters, landlord/tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please review our FAQ here. As a part of our process in assisting you, it is necessary that we contact the company / agency you are writing about. If you do not wish us to contact them, please let us know right away, as it will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.
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