Sunday & Monday: Property owners, renters duped in alleged housing scam
Eugene McGuire was struggling financially in 2013. His two Jewett City rental properties were in foreclosure and his wife had lost her job.
“The property values dipped in 2008 and it was getting harder and harder to find quality tenants,” he said. “I couldn’t get a home equity loan to fix up the apartments because the homes weren’t worth what they used to be. I couldn’t catch up with the bills.”
Things were looking bleak when he got a letter in the mail in May of that year from Saunders Associates, identifying itself as a private investment company with a Fairfield address. The company expressed interest in the houses.
Unbeknownst to McGuire, the company representative he met with was a felon convicted in New Jersey in 2003 of running a mortgage equity skimming scheme.
The representative had McGuire quitclaim the properties to Saunders Associates, promising he would buy the houses and assume all financial responsibility. Instead, he rented out one of the houses and collected and kept the rent.
McGuire lost one house to foreclosure. Foreclosure proceedings for the other are still pending.
A two-day series starting Sunday tells McGuire’s story and those of other alleged victims of a mortgage scheme operating at least since 2012 in Connecticut.
Monday’s installment gives advice from experts on avoiding foreclosure and becoming a victim.
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