A new foreclosure rip-off

After Scene reported that Foreclosure Solutions charging customers $980 to help save their soon-to-be-foreclosed-on homes, then doing nothing but taking their money, we got wind that the Cincinnati-based company was working double time to screw Clevelanders. One reader wrote to say that the company was also sending out "SAVE YOUR HOME!" literature under the name of Foreclosure Help One. When we called Foreclosure Solutions, a guy named Chuck, who identified himself as a supervisor, said the rumor was indeed true. In fact, the company identifies itself under three different names, he said — Foreclosure Solutions, Foreclosure Help One, and Program 10. Consider yourself warned. The same reader also said that a company called Foreclosure Alternatives was pulling a similar scam. And it just so happened that the company's address was a few doors down from Foreclosure Solutions. Though the companies share similar addresses, names, and predatory practices, Chuck said they have no affiliation. In fact, Chuck was absolutely mortified that we'd suggest such a thing. "First of all, the owner of [Foreclosure Solutions] is alive and well and not in jail," Chuck said. "The owner of Foreclosure Alternatives went to jail for money laundering." When Scene called Foreclosure Alternatives, a representative denied Chuck's allegations. But after a bit of research, Scene discovered that Chuck was right. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Ron Trester, Foreclosure Alternative's former owner, was sentenced to 46 months in jail in 2005 for bank fraud, income tax evasion, and conspiracy. Despite the disparity among the owners' criminal records, Scene still doesn't recommend either company for people in a foreclosure jam. Instead people should contact Cuyahoga County's Foreclosure Prevention Program at 216-436-2000. -- Denise Grollmus

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