The foreclosure crisis sweeping across the country has left many homeless. Following the trail of foreclosures are honing in scammers. Foreclosure scams in Austin too have become common occurrence.
In comparison to other cities the situation in Austin has been relatively good. Conditions make refinancing and modification possible. But sometimes the story turns sour and foreclosures win the day.
Reggie Allen had a good credit history. He was persuaded by friend Armstrong to buy a house in 2006 in Short Summer Drive for $178,400 with another person named Penny Coles. Allen was told that everything from taking care of the mortgage to the looking after of the yard would be in the hands of the wife of Lynn Harper-Armstrong. She would be collecting the rent and paying the mortgage. After some time when the price of the house would increase Coles and Allen would split $3,000 gains and the friend would get the house by name transfer. Nothing but the good credit of Allen was used to buy the house.
Coles bought three houses after having signed a written agreement with Lynn Harper, who now used her maiden name and termed the investment firm as The L Group. As per agreement Harper would be responsible for running the mortgage without lapse. But 17 months after purchase, the mortgage company notified Coles and Allen that no payments had come through. Upon being charged Harper told them that payments were about to be made. Harper however could not provide documents to substantiate her statements. Soon after Harper broke all contacts with them. Since then – October 2007, the three houses are in foreclosure. The credit rating of Coles has fallen to an all time low. He laments “I couldn’t get a piece of bubble gum on credit”.
The first unit to succumb to foreclosure was the house on Short Summer Drive. Monique Parker who had rented it with her four children occupied it. At the time of doing so Parker had no clue that Harper was not the owner of the unit. Parker is shocked that Harper would go so far as to drag a family with children into this mire for petty gains. Parker had to move out with her children before Christmas of 2007. The house was foreclosed in the following month.
The realtor who brokered the deal declined to comment except that she has stopped her dealings with Harper upon knowing the true facts.