2 Men Charged With Targeting Struggling Homeowners

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SAN BERNARDINO (AP) — Prosecutors say two California men charged in a refinancing scam preyed on struggling homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure.

The San Bernardino County Sun says a 45-count criminal complaint charges 47-year-old Stephen Andrew Easterly and 36-year-old Emanuel Percival with defrauding at least 25 people in refinancing schemes.

Prosecutors say the defendants’ Fidelity Group Realty in Fontana affected more than $17 million in home loans.

Prosecutor Michael Fermin says homeowners were on the verge of foreclosure or wanted a lower mortgage payment.

He says homeowners each paid up to $7,000 to the defendants.

Easterly and Percival were arrested Friday when investigators served a search warrant at Fidelity Group Realty.

Bail is set at $1 million for Easterly and $500,000 for Percival.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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