PORTERVILLE – A Porterville man convicted of illegally offering loan modification services to distressed homeowners was sentenced Wednesday to 300 days in county jail, five years of felony probation and ordered to pay more than $20,000 in restitution, a prosecutor said.
On Wednesday, Tulare Superior Court Judge James Hollman sentenced Albert J. Carazolez, 43, on 21 charges, ranging from foreclosure rescue fraud, practicing law without a license, violating loan modification disclosure laws and failure to register as a legal document assistant, said Assistant District Attorney Shani Jenkins.
Carazolez defrauded 15 homeowners through his business Quick Action Services. Although Carazolez pleaded no contest to the four felony charges and 17 misdemeanor charges, prosecutors asked in October 2010 that his sentencing be delayed to allow him to pay restitution. However, by May he had only paid back $5,000 of the $20,630 owed.
Complaints from consumers about Carazolez’s business began to appear on online scam alert websites and consumer complaint forums in 2009. District Attorney Dwayne Johnson began an investigation into Carazolez along with the California Department of Real Estate.
Undercover operations revealed that Carazolez was offering loan modification services for an upfront fee of about $1,500. Charging upfront fees for such services is illegal.
Also, Carazolez filed bankruptcies for several of the victims, even though he is not an attorney. Because of his actions, most of the loan modifications did not succeed and some of his victims lost their homes.
The case was prosecuted through the newly established Real Estate Fraud Program of the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office.