Fugitive mortgage scammer nabbed by Marshals

by Ryan Smith06 Sep 2013

U.S. Marshals have arrested a man they say was behind a mortgage scheme that stole millions from the elderly and non-English speaking Hispanics, according to Las Vegas’s KSNV.

Jose Benjamin “Ben” Rodriguez had been on the run for several months after being indicted along with seven others on charges of mortgage fraud and theft. He was arrested over Labor Day weekend after a tip led U.S. Marshals to a location in the Las Vegas area, according to KSNV.

Prosecutors say Rodriguez scammed nearly 100 distressed homeowners, claiming he could lower their mortgage payments through a program called “Start New.” He told homeowners to give him their mortgage payments while he worked on their cases, then pocketed the money.

Santiago Bahena, 55, told KSNV that he nearly lost his home after trusting Rodriguez. Bahena paid Rodriguez $800 a month for almost a year even as default notices filled his mailbox. Bahena told KSNV that Rodriguez claimed the notices were nothing to worry about.

““He also told me they were going to get letters from the bank, don't open them,” Bahena said. After realizing he had been scammed, Bahena filed for bankruptcy and hired a lawyer who saved his home a mere 30 minutes before it was set to go on the auction block, according to KSNV.

Rose Loob, 80, wasn’t so lucky. She paid Rodriguez $16,000, only to find her home in foreclosure.
“Every time we went in he was smooth talking, and he answered our questions and we didn't think anything was wrong,” Loob told KSNV.


  • by JPS | 9/6/2013 12:07:00 PM

    I have -o- tolerance for elder abuse - period. However, in the case of the Hispanic community, we see this kind of fraud all the time; basically the reliance upon the verbal tradition of doing business within that culture helps to facilitate the scams amoung their community. Solution: join American society and educate yourselfs.

  • by Evelyn Santiago | 9/7/2013 6:58:50 AM

    Unfortunately, this is very true. I have had to tell so many Hispanics that I meet that they don't have to pay $600-$3000 to 3rd parties to do short sales, mortgage modifications that never get anything done etc.

    I had one 3rd party negotiator on a mortgage modification threaten to sue me when I told their client to call the bank to make sure the paperwork was being submitted.

    When I told him to go ahead and sue me since the only thing I was doing was giving his clients free advise on how to make sure he was doing his job he magically disappeared.

    The new immigrants that come here and speak little to no English are very vulnerable. They are used to paying just to have papers translated for them which I have been doing for years for free!

    I can't tolerate this type of behavior by those that should know better and are licensed professionals both mortgage and real estate! Hope they keep catching more of them!

  • by Jg | 9/7/2013 11:50:38 AM

    JPS--you are a dumb ass. This type of scams happens in every community, not just among Hispanics.


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