State Busts Alleged Rent-To-Own Scam

CAMDEN, N.J. (CN) – Ultimate Real Estate Solutions defrauded people of money and homes in a racketeering “Rent to Own” scam, funded by 1st Metropolitan Mortgage Services, state prosecutors say. The state says Ultimate acquired homes through fraudulent mortgage applications, took rental payments from “Rent to Own” customers, but never paid the mortgages and let the houses go into foreclosure.

     “The scheme was financed with mortgages brokered by 1st Metropolitan Mortgage Services on the basis of misrepresentations and false information concerning the investor/loan applicant,” the state says. “Ultimate and 1st Metropolitan solicited inflated appraisals from real estate appraisers in order to increase the amount of the loans made by the various mortgage lenders. Ultimately, the rent-to-own customers were evicted despite having made their rental payments. The scheme was developed to enable Ultimate and [Ultimate president Halimah] Prater to take unwarranted proceeds from these transactions, and to allow 1st Metropolitan to collect unwarranted fees and commissions on the fraudulent loans.”
     Ultimate and Prater are based in Williamstown, N.J
     First Metropolitan and its corporate parent, Empire Equity Group, are New York corporations with main offices in Montvale, N.J.
     Defendants Cassandra Coles and Frank Memmo are “employees or agents of 1st Metropolitan, and are responsible for obtaining loans for 1st Metropolitan’s customers,” the complaint states.
     Defendant TMR Appraisal Services is based in Marlton, N.J.
     Defendants NLS Appraisal Services, and its defendant president Michael Forden are based in East Windsor, N.J.

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