Loan modification scam leaves Phoenix woman facing foreclosure

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PHOENIX - Not one but two Valley families fell for the same promise, come up with some cash and we'll save your home from foreclosure.

Weeks and then months went by and the families still found themselves facing foreclosure. Their mortgages were not modified.

That's when law enforcement got involved and so did 3 On Your Side.

Maria lives at a house in Phoenix with her children and grandchildren. She didn't want to be identified because she's ashamed.

She told us that she's nervous and feels very bad.

At this point, Maria, who works as a housecleaner for a Valley resort, is a year behind on her mortgage.

Like so many people, Maria fell in to trouble when her ARM started to adjust.

What was a manageable payment for her house has become too much for her to handle and that's when she got a phone call.

"You think your prayers have been answered and in some cases they have been," said Henry Souza.

Souza is from the Arizona Department of Financial Crimes and said a guy by the name of Jose Chavez convinced Maria that he could modify her mortgage and prevent her from going in to foreclosure.

From there, Souza said things went from bad to worse.

"These people are on the verge of losing their homes, in pre-foreclosure very difficult time making payments," he said.

In this particular neighborhood alone, two houses back to back both signed up with Jose Chavez. In total, Chavez reportedly collected $8,000 in cashier's checks.

"In the course of our investigation we uncovered some concerns that were referred to local law enforcement," Souza said.

Phoenix police and the FBI got involved and they are now looking in to theft allegations against Jose Chavez.

3 On Your Side tracked Chavez to an address in Phoenix listed with the Corporation Commission. Chavez just launched a new business called Accurate Property Solutions. It's listed as a loss prevention business.

When 3 On Your Side went to ask Chavez about the charges against him no one would answer the door.

The FBI told 3 On Your Side that in 2008 they received more than 1700 complaints regarding mortgage fraud and so far in 2009 they've received more than 1,000 and the numbers continue to grow.

As for Maria, while investigators are looking in to her case, she keeps looking in to the mailbox to make sure she and her family have not a received foreclosure notice.

Due to the attention paid to Maria's story, she was able to recoup $2,000 and is now using that to try to save her home.

Here are some top tips: -Verify what you're told in writing -Know who you are talking to, your lender, servicer or 3rd party -Know that only your lender can modify your loan (watch out for false promises) -Be prepared to participate in the negotiation process with your lender/servicer and counselor -Understand your situation (should my lender modify my loan)

If you are questioning whether your lender should modify your loan, or .

Also for a current sample interest factor table, .

And if you want to file a complain with the FBI you can e-mail .