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California law offices raided in nationwide mortgage scam

August 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
State agents raided a Calabasas law office this week as part of an investigation into a nationwide mortgage related scam.

Other California law offices and call centers were raided as part of the investigation into an alleged multi-million dollar scheme. The suspects supposedly tried to take money from desperate homeowners.

The law firm of Kramer and Kaslow in Calabasas was taken over by state agents.

The picture from the firm's web site is of Philip Kramer, the man State Attorney General Kamala Harris calls a predator and the alleged ringleader of the mortgage fraud the state announced on Thursday.

A recorded message was left for callers: "Hello, you have reached the State Bar of California. If you are a client of Philip A. Kramer please listen. On Aug. 15, 2011 the Los Angeles Superior Court issued an interim order assuming jurisdiction over the law offices of Philip A. Kramer."

Pictures were taken by the attorney general during one of the raids. The defendants allegedly sent 2 million pieces of mail to people in 17 states.

They offered them a chance to receive damages and title to their homes free and clear from mortgage lenders like U.S. Bank if they became part of a lawsuit against the lenders.

To do that, the homeowners supposedly had to pay the lawyers and their representatives up to $10,000.

"The lawsuit involves four lawyers, three law firms and 14 other defendants," said Harris. "Assets have been frozen, there is an injunction that has been issued, and this is just the beginning of holding these wrongdoers accountable."

It's estimated that the attorneys and their colleagues received millions of dollars in fees, and alleged that the homeowners received absolutely nothing except smaller bank accounts.

"They suggested that this would be the way that they would received justice," said Harris. "They suggested that by joining this lawsuit the banks would have to pay. But the only people who paid were homeowners, who were victimized a second time."

Calls to Kramer's home have not been returned. And attempts to reach other people named in the attorney general's lawsuit have so far been unsuccessful.

No criminal charges have been filed.


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