Three California residents have been sentenced for stealing about $11 million from homeowners facing foreclosure by pretending to be a government program or nonprofit offering financial help.
The Orange County Register reports a federal jury in Virginia convicted the trio earlier this year of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.
Forty-one-year-old Sammy Araya is believed by authorities to be the mastermind behind the home-mortgage-modification scam. He was sentenced last week to 20 years in prison, while 49-year-old Michael Henderson received 12 years and 26-year-old Jen Seko received seven years.
Federal prosecutors say they sent hundreds of thousands of "deceptive and misleading" mass-mailers offering help with the government-run Home Affordable Modification Program. Prosecutors say they asked the homeowners to send them reinstatement fees and trial mortgage payments.