Online Scam Targeted Underwater Homeowners

Three Californian scammers have been arrested for allegedly crafting a mortgage fraud scheme that scammed homeowners out of thousands of dollars.  California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris says the suspects advertised their plans on a series of websites now seized by the authorities, and face charges of theft, forgery, and falsifying documents.

The main suspect is Ronald Vernon Cupp of Santa Rosa, who owned the North Bay Trust Services firm – a front used to draft false mortgage agreements.  Two other scammers were arrested with Cupp, and authorities allege one of the suspects was a court officer who ratified the forged mortgage documents. 

The scam involved false advertisements located on at least six websites, which promised homeowners North Bay would “kill” mortgage debt.  However, prosecutors found that Cupp’s scam only delayed foreclosures without actually settling the outstanding debts.  Cupp was even willing to target his own mother and successfully conned her out of her own property in exchange for relief on over $900,000 worth of debt – which was never repaid.
North Bay’s advertisements induced unsuspecting homeowners to pay upfront service fees between $1,000 and $10,000.  Once the fees were paid, Cupp and his associates would draft phony mortgage agreements for their victims to sign which gave the false impression that their previous mortgage debts would be forgiven.  After the new ‘contracts’ were validated, the scammers would pose as attorneys for the actual mortgage lenders on each property to transfer the land deed over to North Bay.
Attorney General Harris says Cupp and his associates targeted the most vulnerable homeowners across the state, which has left many families in even worse financial shape.
“Vulnerable California homeowners thought they were working to save their homes but were actually the victims of a fraudulent scheme.”

Cupp is being held at the Sonoma County Jail outside of Santa Rosa awaiting trial.