LOS ANGELES - Two top managers at Westwood-based mortgage brokerage company were arrested today for scamming distressed homeowners in connection with a foreclosure avoidance and equity skimming fraud, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Federal authorities arrested David Singui, 49, of Inglewood and Aziz Meghi, 35, of Los Angeles. A third defendant, Kiet Truong, 27, of Hawthorne, surrendered to authorities Thursday. A fourth defendant, Starr Smith, 31, of Long Beach, is a fugitive.
According to federal prosecutors, this is how the scam worked:
The company, Direct Money Source, held itself out as a company with a "Fresh Start Program" that told distressed homeowners who were trying to avoid foreclosure that they would have their properties purchased by so-called "credit investors." These investors would hod properties for 12 months and then sell them back to the original home owners after they restored their credit ratings.
Instead, Money Source, was an equity-skimming operation that took possession of distressed homeowners' equity under fraudulent pretenses.
The scheme allegedly defrauded mortgage lenders of more than $15 million in loan proceeds involving about 50 properties, say federal authorities.