Schuette Files Charges Against Phony Oakland County Mortgage Banker

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 19, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced the arrest of Eric Lamarr Drake, 37, of Detroit, for allegedly operating a fraudulent mortgage banking business under false pretenses by promising mortgage services, retaining clients’ money and never delivering refunds to those clients. The charges follow an investigation by the Attorney General’s Corporate Oversight Division.

“Michigan families should never have to wonder about the legitimacy of the businesses they turn to when they need help,” said Schuette. “We will continue to track down scam artists who prey on Michigan homeowners and bring them to justice.”

Drake allegedly owned and operated D & F Funding, using a bogus Novi post office box listing and advertising two fake Southfield offices, all located in Oakland County. He misrepresented himself to clients allegedly posing as a mortgage banker with Pathway Financial, LLC in Southfield at a time when Pathway Financial was no longer in business. Drake also allegedly promoted himself as a real estate negotiator, who allegedly collected upfront fees to broker mortgages, bargain down home prices, modify mortgages and pre-approve mortgage credit. He allegedly collected fees between $1,000 and $5,480 for his services in the Oakland and Wayne County realty markets. Drake disappeared before any of his clients received the promised end of their bargain and allegedly retained money from at least five southeastern Michigan victims. When pressured for refunds, Drake allegedly promised several of his victims recompense. Those refunds were never made.

Schuette filed the following criminal charges against Eric Lamarr Drake on Thursday, July 18, 2013:

Five Counts of False Pretenses – $1,000 or more but less than $20,000, a felony punishable by 5 years and/or $10,000, or 3 times the value of the money or property involved, whichever is greater; and,

Five Counts of Larceny by Conversion – $1,000 or more but less than $20,000, a felony punishable by 5 years and/or $10,000, or 3 times the value of the property stolen, whichever is greater.

Drake was arrested this morning by Special Agents from the Department of Attorney General in cooperation with the Michigan State Police. Drake was arraigned on the charges at 1:30PM before Magistrate Julie Nelson-Klein in Oakland County’s 48th District Court. Bond was set at $50,000 cash/surety. The case has been assigned to Judge Marc B. Barron. Drake is next due in court for a pre-exam conference on July 25, 2013 at 9:00AM.

Citizens who believe they may have been victims of Drake’s mortgage banking scam are encouraged to file complaints with the Attorney General’s Office at www.michigan.gov/ag by clicking “File a Complaint.”

Schuette reminds Michigan homeowners that citizens do not need to pay to speak with their lender or servicer or to obtain outside assistance with mortgage issues. Free local assistance with foreclosure issues can be found by calling the Michigan State Housing Development Authority at (866) 946-7432.

“I encourage homeowners with mortgage concerns to contact free, state-certified housing counselors,” said Schuette. “You never have to pay for assistance or to speak with your lender.”

Since taking office, Attorney General Schuette has convicted 30 individuals and companies involved in mortgage relief scams. Four cases remain pending.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Contact:
Joy Yearout 517-373-8060

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