Beau Starr and his family must face the prospect that their home may be gone forever.
I just got slapped with an auction date may 9th, two months away, Starr worriedly said.
The family has lost $9,000 and a lifetime's worth of trust in what investigators say is a home modification scam.
It sucks losing all of that money and not knowing where you are going to go that's bad too, said Whitney Spoor, Starr's wife.
This all began when Starr couldn't get a refinance with his bank, Wells Fargo. Then he got a call from a company named US Recovery Program. Starr couldn't believe his luck.
It was unbelieveable it was great, he said.
The company had him use paperwork downloaded from the government's Making Home Affordable website. It also had other documents with the same letterhead. The person with the company assisting Starr was really nice.
She was about the most helpful one out of almost everyone we've dealt with up til then, said Starr.
Starr was approved and his payment dropped more than $400 per month. He was asked to send $3,600 to the company to get started. After that he was told to send his monthly mortgage payments to the company and not his lender. Deb Bortner with the Department of Financial Institutions says that is a major red flag.
They're not going to charge you a bunch of money up front and they are not going to have you send the money to someone other than your lender. I would say it's more than questionable, explained Bortner.
The truth hit Starr hard.
I called wells fargo for the confirmation or if they ever dealt with this company or if my loan was getting transferred to citimortgage and wells fargo told me they had no contact with a third party, Starr said.
We've learned the address where Starr sent his money wasn't a suite in Long Beach, California but rather a mailbox store. Starr feels as if he dissapointed his family. That's not true, he was taken by professionals.
One of the biggest things we were happy about is letting our daughter grow up in the same house when she goes to school next year. It's literally two blocks away and now not knowing where we are gong to move to is dealing with another who set of stresses already dealing with this whole thing, explained Starr.
I got Starr hooked up with investigators and a lawyer with the Northwest Justice Project which will try to help him keep his home. Sources tell us Starr's not the only victim. Several others in the area have been hit by the scammers. Bottom line, never send a dime to a third party for a modification. Only pay your lender. If you need help, see a government housing counselor, they are free. Finally don't buy false hope. It's really expensive.