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Schuette Announces Charges for Northern Michigan Foreclosure-Rescue Fraud
May 16, 2012
LANSING - Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced charges against a Holly woman for her role in a foreclosure-rescue fraud operation that scammed at least 60 victims across the state out of $250,000. Tashia Winstanley, 38, of Holly, and her company, TLW Mortgage Solutions, face criminal charges for collecting upfront fees and impersonating a mortgage modification company.
"Foreclosure rescue scam artists attack Michigan homeowners who are struggling financially and fighting to stay in their homes," said Schuette. "Instead of helping families stay above water, these criminals push them back under. We are working hard to dismantle these predatory operations and connect victims with free foreclosure assistance."
The criminal charges come as the result of an investigation by the Attorney General after complaints against the company were filed with Attorney General Schuette's Consumer Protection Division. The investigation revealed that from September 2009 through January 2012 Winstanley allegedly operated TLW Mortgage Solutions as a mortgage modification business.
It is alleged Winstanley offered prospective clients mortgage loan modifications for a fee. Winstanley allegedly promised victims she would secure a mortgage loan modification for them. Some victims even made their mortgage payments directly to Winstanley instead of their lenders, but instead of remitting those payments to the banks, Winstanley allegedly pocketed the funds for her own personal use. Investigation subsequently revealed that Winstanley allegedly made no efforts to secure loan modifications for any of the victims.
Affected victims reside in the following counties: Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Kalkaska, Roscommon, Oakland, Genesee, Benzie and Macomb.
Winstanley and her company, TLW Mortgage Solutions are each charged in Grand Traverse County's 86th District Court with the following:
Winstanley is currently incarcerated in Huron Valley Women's Correctional Facility serving time for previous convictions for Larceny by Conversion - $1,000-$20,000 charged in Leelanau and Kalkaska counties. Winstanley will be arraigned by video from prison on June 4, 2012. She will next be due in court for a preliminary exam at 11:00AM on June 18, 2012 before Judge Thomas J. Phillips.
Citizens who believe they may have been victims of Winstanley or TLW Mortgage Solutions are encouraged to file complaints with the Attorney General's Office at www.michigan.gov/ag by clicking "File a Complaint."
Schuette reminds Michigan homeowners that citizens do not need to pay to speak with their lender or servicer or to obtain outside assistance with foreclosure issues. Free local assistance with foreclosure issues can be found by calling the Michigan State Housing Development Authority at (866) 946-7432.
"I encourage homeowners with foreclosure concerns to contact free, state-certified housing counselors," said Schuette. "You do not have to pay for assistance or to speak with your lender."
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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