California prosecutors have charged a 41-year-old Pakistani beauty queen with allegedly bilking homeowners out of thousands of dollars in a loan-modification scam.Saman Hasnain, the former Mrs. Pakistan World, and her husband have been hit with 17 counts of grand theft, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Their scheme closely resembles that of a popular Farsi-language radio host who was arrested for allegedly targeting Persian investors and big banks in a massive ponzi scheme last year.
Like John Farahi, Hasnain and her husband stuck close to their roots, posting fliers and notices for services in tight-knit Pakistani communities. All clients had to do was fork over a $4,500 fee upfront.
Here’s how Deputy District Attorney Victor Chen detailed their scheme:
“The couple promised to refund the money if they failed to get the loans modified. To show their sincerity, the payments were placed in an escrow account.
But buried in the fine print of the contracts was a provision allowing Jawad to empty the escrow account, Chen said. Jawad used the proceeds from the loan-modification and investment scams to buy plastic surgery for Saman, as well as to pay for his Mercedes and the mortgage on the $2.2 million house they own in the Almaden Hills, the prosecutor said.”
The red flag these homeowners missed in this case was that the couple asked for their fees upfront.
You should be wary of anyone who wants cash before services are rendered, especially if they’re touting a near 100% success rate.
If you’ve dealt with a loan modification business you feel is up to no good, alert the FTC or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).