7 On Your Side
State searches Mortgage Modifiers after 7 On Your Side story
PETALUMA, Calif. (KGO) -- Agents from the California Department of Justice served a search warrant on Thursday on the business and home of a Petaluma man accused by homeowners in a mortgage modification scheme.
Miguel Lopez, also known as Miguel Angel Lopez-Soleta, has denied all along he's done anything wrong. He said this even after the Department of Real Estate stripped him of the real estate licenses for himself and his business, Mortgage Modifiers. On Thursday, undercover agents from the Department of Justice showed up at his door.
ABC7 News chopper SKY7HD caught a bird's eye view of Miguel Lopez's palatial home in the countryside of Petaluma. Authorities were inside seizing computer files, client records and paperwork. Undercover agents, who asked not to be identified, did the same thing at an office Lopez sublets in a Petaluma office park.
A source tells us the raid began Thursday morning and lasted roughly five hours. Lopez was there at the time of the raid, but was not interrogated. Word of Thursday's action spread quickly and homeowners who say they were duped showed up to see for themselves.
"I think I've been through hell and back knowing that somebody duped me and not just me, but so many other people," said Lisa Marvier of Novato.
The Attorney General's office tells us that after our story aired just 10 days ago, they've received more than three dozen additional complaints. The raid comes after we went to Lopez's office asking questions
Yader: "Hi, I'm Yader. I work for Mortgage Modifiers. Can I help you with something?"
Finney: "Yeah, you sure can. We have a lot of complaints about Mortgage Modifiers, that you guys are doing business without a license, that you're offering to modify loans and taking money up front."
Yader: "So I work for the company. I can't really tell you anything. I'm not the owner of the company, so..."
Homeowners say Lopez promised to modify their mortgages, but failed to deliver after taking their $1,995 up front fee.
"I was promised a modification. I was promised that my house would go back into the value that it was prior to the recession," said Mary Anne Gilles of Novato.
On Thursday we attempted to call Lopez, but his number has been disconnected, but by email last month he told us, "We offer a packaging service. Clients pay for the package and nothing more."
He says the packaging service consists of all paperwork a client can file on their own to get a modification. He denied the fee he collects is an advance fee or for a modification. Homeowners who expressed frustration at the lack of action by authorities are now happy.
"Today, I think the authorities are doing a good job. I would like to see a little bit more from the top from the Attorney General and move a little bit faster. But I feel Channel 7 really got the ball moving," said Gillis.
Authorities say they will examine the evidence collected to determine if it backs up the accusations and move forward with charges if warranted. No arrests were made on Thursday and no charges have been filed.
mortgages, foreclosures, petaluma, 7 on your side, michael finney
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