Attorney General Terry Goddard has announced that Edward L. Carpenter of Phoenix, a minister and former mortgage broker, has been found guilty by a Maricopa County Superior Court jury of 10 charges related to his operation of a fraudulent mortgage "rescue" business. Carpenter was convicted on five counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices, all Class 2 Felonies, and five counts of fraudulent schemes and practices, all Class 5 Felonies.
The defendant contacted local homeowners, falsely stating he ran a "mortgage elimination" business that could legally remove the homeowners' names from their mortgages, giving them ownership of the properties free and clear. He charged upfront fees of $1,000 or more.
Utilizing his knowledge of the mortgage system and his religious influence, Carpenter used the homeowners to file fraudulent foreclosure paperwork with the Maricopa County Recorder's Office. These filings were designed to cloud the title, confuse title companies, and cause mortgage companies to fund loans, portions of which were obtained by Carpenter. He received more than $257,398 in illegal proceeds from this scheme.
"This case is particularly outrageous example of mortgage modification schemes," Goddard said. "Representing himself as a minister to gain the trust of homeowners, this fraud artist said he could have their mortgages forgiven and enable them now to own their properties free and clear. He then filed fraudulent paperwork that victimized mortgage companies, title companies and the consumers. I encourage all homeowners contacted by mortgage 'rescue' operators to check out the claims carefully and not possibly lose the home that they are trying so hard to save."
Assistant Attorney General Yukiko Kuwata prosecuted the case in a six-day trial. The jury returned its verdict on Aug. 25. Carpenter has been taken into custody and faces sentencing on Oct. 7 before Judge Janet Barton. For sentencing purposes, the jury also found the State had proven two aggravating factors for each of the 10 counts.
Click here to view a full copy of the indictment.
For more information, visit www.azag.gov.