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Innocent homeowner caught in bankruptcy scam

con artistI tried to keep my home despite the fact they started foreclosure proceedings. I self represented myself and filed initial bankruptcy chapter 13 forms which stopped the first trustee sale/ auction date. I got stuck on the second set of forms and missed deadline. I accepted the fact I would lose our home. A month later I got a note on front door from someone saying they wanted to buy house & could stop trustee sale/auction scheduled the next day. I thought Trustee sale was actually planned next month so I was caught by surprise.

I called the # on the note they told me I could get money and sell house to them and they could stop sale all I needed to do was sign some papers. So I met them early the next morning to review & sign which ended up being bankruptcy forms. I told them what had happened with dismissed case but they said not to worry.

Apparently they went down to bankruptcy court filed forms on my behalf to get the case # to stop trustee sale.

con artistThis is where it gets confusing they said (& mortgage lender confirmed) someone purchased it at sale. But they told me they were able to get it sell rescinded. (Mortgage lender couldn’t confirm this with me) now they want me to meet them with mobile notary to sign papers for them to buy house and offering $5000 cash to me. I owe a lot less than what similar homes have sold for in my neighborhood (about 50k-60k less).

Based on what I’ve told you does this sound normal? How could they rescind trustee sale? And what should I be cautious about signing moving forward? Any insight is much appreciated.

I’m a single widowed mother and really have no friends or family to be able to ask their opinion.

NOTES FROM DIANE: I looked at the bankruptcy documents filed with the court.  The con artist who talked this innocent woman into filing bankruptcy failed to follow any of the bankruptcy requirements:

  1. they did not provide proof of identity,
  2. they did not file the required form which discloses their name, contact information and the document preparer id number issued by the Arizona Supreme Court.
  3. They did not file the required list of creditors
  4. they did not to file the other 50+ pages of bankruptcy information.

con artistsThese cons are now asking the young woman to come to their office and sign paperwork which would sell them her home.  Supposedly they will give her some money to move out – can you say “bounced check”.

I explained that she was in bankruptcy and, no matter what the con artists said, she could not sell her house without first obtaining a bankruptcy court order, or dismissing her case (assuming that was an option).

If this young woman does nothing at all this second bankruptcy will be dismissed, like her first chapter 13, and she will be left with two bankruptcies, plus a foreclosure on her credit.  Plus, she will still have all the obligations that would have been discharged if she followed through with either of the bankruptcies (credit card, HOA judgment, etc.)

I suggested she contact the Self-Help Center at the Bankruptcy Court and make them aware of this scam.  Perhaps she will, but most likely she will fade into the night and the con artists will go on to prey on other innocent and desperate homeowners.

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Diane L. Drain

Diane L. Drain, bankruptcy attorney, retired law professor, mentor and community spokesperson.

About Diane Drain:

Diane is a well respected Arizona bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney. As a retired law professor, she believes in offering everyone, not just her clients, advice about bankruptcy and Arizona foreclosure laws. Diane is also a mentor to hundreds of Arizona attorneys.

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