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Jail Time for Man Who Swindled Property Owner

Cases remain ongoing against two remaining defendants.

One of the men said to have preyed on local homeowners threatened with foreclosure was sentenced Tuesday to 90 days in county jail as part of a plea agreement reached with the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, the office announced.

Ashik Ahmed Azeez, 50, of Sacramento pled no contest to three misdemeanor counts of mortgage fraud. According to Sacramento Superior Court records, he was facing 23 counts for his involvement in a loan modification business that illegally siphoned advance service fees from seven victims, including individuals with properties in Carmichael and Fair Oaks.

An arrest warrant filed in March said a woman with two properties in Carmichael fell prey to a kind of fraud perpetrated by Azeez and business partner Frank Joseph Ferris, 69, of Sacramento.

In March 2010, Joan Stovall met with Ferris and Azeez for a loan modification on two properties she owned in Carmichael. Years before, Ferris served as Stovall’s attorney in a family dispute over a trust. Stovall received a $50,000 judgment, but allowed Ferris to keep the money in his client trust account, with the understanding Ferris would write her checks as needed.

Prosecutor Michael Blazina wrote in the warrant filing that Ferris suggested Stovall obtain a loan modification through his company after she fell behind in house payments. Ferris reportedly said he would pay the $1,500 fee from the client trust account he oversaw for Stovall. Azeez later told Stovall that payment never happened, prompting her to pay at least $350 out of pocket for the in-process loan modification.

It is illegal to charge or collect advance fees for loan modification services that haven’t happened.

As part of the plea agreement, Azeez was placed on three years of probation. He was also ordered to pay $8,250 in restitution to the victims, and is prohibited from engaging in any business activity involving real estate while on probation, a release from the DA’s office states.

Azeez and Ferris ran the company, later named Turbo Solutions, with Vicente Jose Perez, 49, also of Sacramento.

DA spokeswoman Shelly Orio said the cases against Ferris and Perez remain ongoing and declined to comment further. Online court data, however, shows that Perez was scheduled for a plea hearing Tuesday morning, just as Azeez was. He faces 11 misdemeanor charges.

Ferris is not yet facing active prosecution, at least according to online court records. In May 2007, he was sentenced to 48 hours on a sheriff’s work program and three years of probation following a no-contest plea to a single count of driving under the influence.

In 2005, Azeez was convicted in Sacramento Superior Court of two misdemeanor counts of violating a restraining order. He was sentenced to 20 days on a sheriff’s work project and three years of probation, but would be back in court six more times in relation to that case due to probation violation issues, online court records show.

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