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Mortgage scam results in conviction


FENNVILLE (WKZO) -- The Attorney General’s office called her a one woman crime wave, and now a West Michigan woman has been convicted of racketeering, operating an ongoing criminal enterprise, the same charge they use to prosecute gangsters.

Joy Yearout at the AG’s office says Tanya Raisbeck of Fennville went into business helping foreclosure victims negotiate with banks. She took an upfront fee and she would tell them to stop making house payments, cut off contact with their lender, and let her do the talking.

She claimed she had special relationships with the banks, but she didn’t.

As a result Yearout says some of her victims not only lost their fee, but their homes.

They figure she defrauded 70-thousand dollars out of families who were desperate and could least afford to be scammed.

They will be seeking restitution for her 85 victims, and The Attorney General’s office will ask the judge to give her the maximum for the 20-year felony.

Because some lost more than just the fee they paid to Raisbeck, Yearout says they may also be tapping the State’s Victim Restitution Program to help out the families with funds from the National Mortgage Settlement.

Under the Program, victims are able to apply for restitution payments following a successful prosecution by the Attorney General’s office. To be eligible, victims must be listed on a court-ordered restitution order.

She says they have prosecuted one other operator of a “foreclosure rescue” scam, and several others are under investigation. Yearout says it’s the law in Michigan that banks must talk with the people they lend money to without charge.

She says you can also get free assistance from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority at (866) 946-7432