(New Haven, CT) The president of a mortgage modification scam operation that falsely claimed to be affiliated with NACA has been sentenced to prison three years after NACA recovered and refunded their victims’ money.
The Justice Department announced that John Vescera, president of the now defunct First One Lending Corporation, was sentenced by US District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven, CT to more than a year in prison and three years’ probation on one of several charges relating to First One’s mortgage modification scam, which had fraudulently claimed an affiliation with NACA.
“We are overjoyed to see justice come for the hundreds of homeowners defrauded by First One”, according to Bruce Marks, Founder and CEO of NACA, the nation’s largest HUD certified housing counseling agency. “NACA has shown that it is possible and necessary to both put these predators out of business and behind bars, and recover every penny struggling homeowners have lost to such scams.”
First One had charged homeowners as much as $2,500 with false claims it would obtain a mortgage modification for them. NACA sued First One in 2013 under the Lanham Act for falsely claiming to be associated with NACA and its Home Save Program, which has always been free of charge.
NACA received a judgement of $1.5 million, which was then used to provide full refunds for all of First One’s victims. On July 11, 2013, victims received their refunds during a ceremony at NACA’s Los Angeles office.
The NACA program has obtained more than than a quarter million affordable mortgage modifications as a result of legally binding agreements with the major mortgage servicers and investors.
NACA continues its fight for working people in what has become a predatory economy. In addition to continuing efforts to help homeowners with unaffordable mortgages, NACA provides nearly $1.2 billion per year in affordable fixed-rate mortgages to primarily low and moderate income home buyers through its 42 offices nationwide, with 10 more offices scheduled to open in the next year.
“NACA is also confronting the massive student loan crisis and predatory for-profit colleges such as the recently closed ITT Tech”, according to Marks. “Our community advocacy efforts are growing as we continue the fight for economic justice we started nearly thirty years ago.”