Scammers Target Homeowners Through Home Renovation Loan Program

By BOBETH YATES

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. (WFOR) – A scam alert for homeowners regarding the PACE home improvement program.

The program allows you to finance the initial costs of repairs and then reimburse them over time. But what if you find out that someone has taken out this loan on your behalf, without your knowledge. This is what an owner said had happened to him.

“It was like I had been raped financially, that’s how I felt,” said Mildred Carlo, owner of Coral Gables. She was recently the victim of scammers who took out a PACE loan to renovate her property without her knowledge.

“I felt like someone had totally raped me. I was a single mother, I had worked really hard all my life, worked so hard that I didn’t have a mortgage on my house. Carlo said.

But the $ 18,500 loan taken out without Carlo’s permission threatened his desire to keep his family debt free. The loan money would have gone directly to a contractor and, according to the loan documents, was for work on his air conditioning system.

Loan specialist Jean-Pierre Paul said these types of loans were originally designed to help homeowners complete their jobs without refinancing or withdrawing equity.

“They would set up a PACE loan, say for the windows or the roof or the air conditioning or whatever, they wouldn’t have to put the money up front and then the loan would be paid back through their property taxes, ”Paul said.

Lawyer David Winker believes that if Carlo hadn’t come home early and intercepted the package detailing the loan agreement, she wouldn’t have discovered it until too late.

“If someone who hadn’t looked closely at their tax bill, they wouldn’t have noticed, even if it’s like taxes are going up, my taxes are a little higher than usual but that’s when you would have found out so it’s about, ”Winker said.

Winker adds that safeguards must be in place to prevent other owners from becoming victims, sentiments echoed by Carlo.

“If I hadn’t come home early, the person who carried out this scam would have come by and picked up the envelope left and I wouldn’t even have known until I got my account. taxes. I just want people to know that there are people doing this, houses that are lost because of things like that, ”Carlo said.

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