M3 Strategy runs off with man's refinance money

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PHOENIX – A local company was supposed to help refinance a house but instead the owner of the home says the company ran off with his money.

Carlos Aragon likes his home, but he doesn't like his house payment. "As I saw the price of property coming down, I wanted to explore refinancing options, ways to make that mortgage more affordable," Carlos said.

When Carlos found a flyer on his front door from a company called M3 Strategy advertising refinancing options, he thought lowering his mortgage payment just might be able to happen so Carlos contacted M3 Strategy and he liked what they told him.

M3 strategy told Carlos they could help him to move his interest rate "from a variable interest rate to a fixed interest rate and to bring in a more affordable monthly payment."

Carlos said the offer sounded good so he signed up and paid M3 Strategy their "start-up" fee to get started. "What they told me was that, to get, essentially, the ball rolling, I had to pay $1,500 in a legal retainer fee."

That wasn't all. Carlos also paid a $400 application fee and a $400 property inspection fee for a grand total of $2,300.

All of these payments were made in fall of 2009 and since then, Carlos says M3 Strategy hasn't done one thing. "I think I've been very patient," Carlos said.

3 On Your Side got involved and discovered M3 Strategy is run by a woman named Michele Mitchell. As it turns out Michele Mitchell may be in trouble with the law.

3 On Your Side went to two previous locations where M3 Strategy was located, including one in Phoenix. At both locations, property management for the office complexes told 3 On Your Side that Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and local police agencies have been around several times claiming they were investigating M3 Strategy and Michele Mitchell.

Although FBI agents and local police did not release details of the investigation, property management companies say the agents asked a lot of questions.

Carlos said he's glad law enforcement is taking an interest in pursuing Michele Mitchell.

"I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt and just give her some more time. She was telling me she was looking for other investors, so I said ok, that takes a bit of time," Carlos explains.

The FBI would not confirm an investigation against M3 Strategy. However, the issue makes Carlos wonder if there are more people with his similar situation. "I'm also concerned about how many other people in the community are being affected by this.”