Big Banks Allege Brazen Rental Scam
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Wells Fargo and HSBC banks claim in court that fraudsters are trespassing on foreclosed properties, posing as owners and leasing the homes to unsuspecting tenants.
Wells Fargo Bank, HSBC Bank and a slew of predecessors and affiliates sued Pension Recovery Inc., Diversified Management, Blair Christopher Hanioh and Noel Rojas in Superior Court.
The banks claim that the defendants not only pulled off brazen frauds, but had the brass to sue the banks for trying to stop them.
The banks say they hold title and rights to four properties in Pico Rivera, Los Angeles, Downey and Westminster, but the defendants changed locks on the homes and leased them without permission.
"Defendants have engaged in a scheme to defraud plaintiffs by unlawfully trespassing onto foreclosed properties, renting the properties to third parties, and collecting and retaining the rents from the properties for their own personal use," the complaint states.
"Defendants not only illegally took possession and control of multiple properties belonging to Wells Fargo and HSBC, but also filed numerous meritless small claims lawsuits against the employees and/or agents of Wells Fargo and HSBC once plaintiffs became aware of defendants' fraudulent scheme."
The defendants claimed that the banks do not hold rights to the properties under California's Business and Profession's Code, the banks say in the complaint.
"Based on these false and fraudulent assertions, defendants report to law enforcement authorities and to unsuspecting tenants that defendants are the true owners of the subject properties," the lawsuit states.
While tenants remain, the banks say, they cannot sell the properties.
The banks seek an injunction and at least $250,000 in damages for fraud, trespass, conversion, unjust enrichment and unfair business practices.
They are represented by Matthew Pero with Anglin, Flewelling, Rasmussen, Campbell & Trytten of Pasadena.