L.A. Couple Tortures Loan-Mod Agents
The Los Angeles County district attorney reports that the couple, Daniel Weston, 51, and Mary Ann Parmelee, 52, and three others are accused of luring two male victims to a Glendale, Calif., office where they were tied up, held for hours, and beaten.
Police were notified when one of the victims managed to escape. According to Reuters, the couple is charged with two counts of torture, two counts of false imprisonment by violence, and two counts of second-degree robbery. Each count of felony torture, defined as inflicting "great bodily injury" for the purpose of "revenge, extortion, persuasion and for a sadistic purpose," carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Weston and Parmelee share a home in nearby La Canada-Flintridge. The couple was jailed and placed on a $1 million bond. Weston and another man are accused with beating the victims in front of three co-defendants who prosecutors say had a business role funneling loan-modification referrals to them.
A statement from the district attorney's office stated that Weston and Paramelee sought loan modification assistance from the victims but believed nothing was being done so wanted their money back. They felt they had been swindled.
As foreclosures rise, so do the crimes associated with the foreclosure process.
The Federal Trade Commission offers a citizen's guide to help homeowners identify loan modification scams. NeighborWorks, a Los Angeles non-profit, has just started a campaign to educate hardest-hit demographics in Southern California affected by mortgage loan-modification fraud. The New York Times reports on a new service called ePropertyWatch which will notify a homeowner of fraudulent public-document records. Such records have been used by thieves to take control of a property through "house theft" or "title theft."
via Reuters , The Los Angeles Times , The New York Times