Christopher Wright Fox and Curtis James Melone Loan-Mod Prosecution Does Not Surprise Blogger Who Has Dogged Them

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When the California Attorney General last week announced the arrests of Christopher Wright Fox (right) and his partner Curtis James Melone for allegedly collecting more than $6 million from homeowners nationwide for loan modification services that were never performed, Moe Bedard was not surprised. "What does surprise me," Bedard reacted, "is how long it took to issue these arrest warrants when these loan modification clowns have been operating for many years now."

That was posted on Bedard's LoanSafe.org blog, which along with sister blog LoanWorkout.org has been reporting on the "rogue loan modification firm" and its owners for four years. "They were probably the largest firm and thus most likely the biggest scam to hit the loan mod industry since its inception in early 2007," Bedard informs.

Christopher-Fox-left-Curtis-Melone.jpg
The booking photos of Christopher Fox and Curtis Melone
Laguna Niguel's Fox and Huntington Beach's Melone (who also goes by Curtis Kubat), both 37, pleaded not guilty at their Orange County Superior Court arraignment last Wednesday to 37 felony counts, including conspiracy, grand theft and unlawful collection of advance fees.

A third man, disbarred Tennessee lawyer King Harris III, 42, also was charged in the case. State prosecutors were in the process of seeking his extradition to California from Missouri, where he's facing federal mail and wire fraud charges.

According to the complaint shared by Attorney General Kamala Harris, Fox and Melone operated Green Credit Solutions in Irvine, which was later renamed Guardian Credit Services and Get My Credit Grade.

Thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure were charged $3,500 apiece in up-front fees in exchange for attorney services that weren't provided, according to prosecutors who say Green Credit lawyers did little, if anything, for clients.

"Homeowners continue to struggle throughout California and across the country to hang onto their homes, and this prosecution is another warning to predators who would seek to profit from their distress: this kind of criminal conduct will meet with swift and certain consequences," Harris told the gathered media last week.

Her office launched an investigation in June 2009 after numerous consumer complaints were filed with her office, the Better Business Bureau, the California Department of Real Estate and the State Bar of California. The probe found that from November 2008 to October 2009, Fox, Melone and Harris collected more than $6 million from thousands of homeowners across California and nationwide, according to the complaint.

Victims were allegedly told their funds would be held in a so-called "attorney escrow account" until services were completed. In fact, those fees were often deposited into the account of a disbarred attorney and then promptly transferred to Green Credit, according to the complaint.

In California, foreclosure consultants are prohibited by law from collecting money before services are performed. "Homeowners should never pay up-front fees to reduce their loans," said Harris, who advised Californians facing mortgage difficulties to instead contact a non-profit housing counselor, either through www.HUD.gov or a local non-profit housing clinic. Tips on how to avoid mortgage fraud and other resources, and to report fraud or file a complaint, are available at http://oag.ca.gov/consumers/loan-modification.

Read the Green Credit complaint at http://oag.ca.gov/.

"We hope that we have assisted law enforcement in their investigation," Bedard writes, "and also helped thousands of other potential victims from being defrauded by these financial thugs."

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14 comments
lenderreviews
lenderreviews

UPDATE:  King Harris is in jail!  I'll post a link at the end of this update.  He is serving 21 months in federal prison for bilking investors out of $200,000.  He plead guilty to wire fraud before trial.

Pleading guilty is pretty common for these types of financial fraud.  Once the State has the evidence to charge you, it's over.  The cost/benefit of going to trial just is not there... you're going to lose anyway.  So the real game is "How long can I stay out of prison?"

In the case of Curtis (Curt) Melone and Chris Fox, this is exactly what is happening.  No Attorney in their right mind would take these boys to trial without a hefty payment up front, and I don't believe these con men have the bucks.  I was in court for one hearing where Fox had tears streaming down his face from behind the courtroom bars, and Curt was looking scrawny in his fresh haircut.  They are not going to make it.

So their appearances from the May 3rd court date were pushed forward, which buys them a few more months of freedom.  At some point the court shuts that game down and says it's over, make a deal or go to trial.

Harris was a facilitator to the Green Credit/Guardian Credit scheme. Read more on King Bethel Harris sent to prison: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/st-louis-lawyer-gets-months-for-bilking-investors-of/article_5a1c5f58-b188-11e1-86ca-001a4bcf6878.html

lenderreviews
lenderreviews

Another party charged with 84 counts in this case is King Bethel Harris III.  Court records say he was a no-show for his May 16th hearing, and he has a failure-to-appear warrant out for his arrest.

BTW... that was a $500 GRAND bail bond so you can bet there are some bounty hunters looking for that boy!

The case number is 11CF3253, Superior Court of California, County of Orange.  Details can be found at www.occourts.org.

lenderreviews
lenderreviews

Christopher Wright Fox and Curtis James Melone are scheduled for a jury trial on June 10, 2013. On May 3rd, their attorney's are in court for a 995 motion, which is basically an attempt to reduce or drop some of the charges.

Of the 66 counts, the charges include felony counts of grand theft, damaging/destruction of property, and conspiracy. All counts have sentencing enhancements which can add a year to each convicted count.

If these boys make it to trial, it means they could afford the hefty attorney fees, which may be an embarrassment to the justice dept. as it was believed all their assets were frozen when first raided and arrested.

The case is 12ZF0141, Superior Court of California, County of Orange. Case details available online at occourts.org,.. click on case access, criminal.

quickquid
quickquid

A house loan need not actually mean that you are trapped to the same supporter for life. It may have been so in the beginning but with a switch in marketplaces and achievement becoming high, refinancing house loans have obtained a significant concentrate expansion.

Randallmarquis
Randallmarquis

Although the official Orange County Superior Court calendar shows a pre trial hearing scheduled for July 17, 2012, we have learned the case against Curtis Melone and Christopher Fox is headed to the grand jury on June 14, 2012.    The grand jury weighs and considers issuing criminal indictments after evidence is presented by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, or in the this case, the States Attorney General's Office.   Green Credit Solutions was originally raided by the State Bar of California and other agencies on December 21, 2009.  Fox and Melone were arrested on December 6, 2001 and are currently out on $300,000.00 bail each.   They are each charged with 37 felony counts including Conspiracy, Unlawful Advance Fees, and Grand Theft. In addition there are 56 sentencing enhancements for "Taking, damaging/destruction of property" and "Fraud or embezzlement exceeding $500,000."   The case number is 11CF3253 with the Orange County Superior Court and can be looked up online at https://ocapps.occourts.org.

Bent1961
Bent1961

Release Date: 01-19-2012 04:49:00 Christopher Fox has been released and will be just fine

Anonymous
Anonymous

Melone posted bail but Fox was denied and will spend Christmas in jail.  Apparently they felt he was a flight risk, especially considering he was named in the Kramer Kaslow scam that was recently just brought down.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

$6 million / $3,500 = ~1,714 people who trusted some anonymous source from the Intrawebs to help them stay in their homes.  Worst still, these folks probably turned over all their financial records including their SSN.  It would be interesting to know if these two guys sold that info. 

I don't want to pass judgment, but they (the homeowners) took out horrendous loans they couldn't afford, then got screwed on the back-end trying to keep it.  I don't know what to say about this level of thinking.

Culichi1967
Culichi1967

these find young men represent nothing more than good ol' Amerikkkan entrepreneurship spirit, the same spirit and creatiev thinking that our fine GOP and wallstreet promotes. the liberal media only wants to promote socialism and wealth distribution. so, back off, OC Weekly, and back off federal gov't from my 94 yr old dad's medicare.

Anon
Anon

LOL fine for now.. You think he will just walk away unscathed?  What about the Kramer Kaslow ordeal?  You are just as naive as he, and probably just as dishonest.  This isnt over by a long shot.

Randall Marquis
Randall Marquis

Actually over 6,400 files were seized.  Actually, over 25 million was moved... the AG's office only needed to go so far to be sure they had enough for felony level with sentencing enhancements.

Yes... their SSNs were/are in the files.  Many more files were moved to the roof and the authorities missed those.

Curt and Chris have a pre-trial hearing on April 30, 2012 in Santa Ana, Orange County Superior Court. Both are out on 300k bail.

The nice thing about this case is the fact there are 93 counts against each of them including the sentencing enhancements.  That means they will not be able to afford to fight all of them and they will have to plea out.  Based upon the audacity, avarice and greed, I'm thinking 10 years would be a minimum allowed based upon the two years and the cost to the California taxpayer to date.

Johnsmith79
Johnsmith79

So why did they hire someone to help? Because the banks aren't helping people even after they got their bailouts from the taxpayers and the federal government. People turned over their financial records and their SSN's? Are you an idiot? These people who turned over their SSN's haven't paid their mortgages in months and in some instances years. What are you going to do with someone's identity who has a credit score below 400? I know this case better than probably anyone blogging about it and I can tell you that not only did they not scam people(unfortunately no matter what you do, some people can not get modified) they closed their doors(stopped taking on new clients) and tried to finish processing the clients files but the government decided to step in and raid their offices and take all of the files and lock down the building. So what was accomplished? The last few hundred people that probably would have gotten their loans modified had their files seized and the work stopped, so of course those people say they got scammed. What they don't know is the government stopped the work on their files! Its funny how if you actually know all of the facts to a story how it might change your opinion. Don't forget their is always 2 sides to every story.

Guest
Guest

Randall what is the latest, the 30th has come and gone.  Any link to more data?  I dont know how you heard about teh court date, I cant find anything on it.  Thank you.

Anon
Anon

I guarantee I know more than you and you are incorrect.  They took on files knowing full well they couldnt service them.  Negotiators had a hundred files a piece and many files only had an authorization faxed to the bank, nothing more.  On top of that, they were illegally charging up front fees any way they could with false promises.  To top it all off, they were then booking the same people for debt settlement and telling them it would help their chances of getting their loans modified. Dont forget Fox's first company, which had a less than stellar reputation. http://www.la.bbb.org/business...  It took 2 years to prosecute Green Credit because of all the auditing and paper trail following from company to company, running from the law.  THEN Fox gets in bed with Kramer and Kaslow and perpetuates yet another scam (mass joinder), and was named in the reports when it came crashing down. http://www.massjoinderreceiver...  He has yet to face the music for that, he isnt going anywhere anytime soon.

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