By Karen Brainard
Ramona resident George Newman, a licensed real estate broker and investment adviser, said a predatory loan has left an elderly Ramona man homeless and he is doing what he can to help the victim get back in his house.
Newman also offers to help other seniors who may have been scammed by what he called a “telemarketer mortgage broker.”
“This is the saddest case I’ve ever seen in my life,” Newman said of the 72-year-old man who agreed to refinance his home with such a broker.
The loan victim, who asked not to be named, was evicted from his home of over 30 years in November 2011 after his mortgage payment doubled, totaling more than his monthly fixed income. He has since been living in his 1990 Cherokee Jeep.
“Every day is a nightmare for this guy,” said Newman.
According to Newman, the loan victim agreed in 2006 to meet with a mortgage broker from Long Beach after receiving a telemarketing call. Newman said the mortgage broker took advantage of the man, who only has a fifth-grade education.
The homeowner agreed to a 40-year loan that began at a yearly interest of 2.25 percent but jumped to 7.71 percent by the beginning of the fifth year, said Newman. The broker also charged an extremely high fee, he said.
“This is the biggest rip-off you’ve ever seen,” said Newman.
When the homeowner was evicted, Newman said, he had just hours to sell his household contents and made only about $200. He filled his car with clothes and blankets, which he used to try to stay warm during the winter months, he said.
Newman has filed a lawsuit on the victim’s behalf against the mortgage lender and is working with an attorney.
The 80-year-old Newman, who holds a Bachelor of Science in engineering, a Master in Business Administration, and a doctorate in organizational psychology, said he would like to hear from other senior citizens who may have been victims of a loan scam.
“I think this is absolutely rampant—the fraud that is going on,” he said.
Newman can be reached at 760-788-1343.