Local News

Business Accused Of Scamming People With Bad Credit

Posted August 2, 2005 8:12 a.m. EDT

— Cory and Sharon Callender knew their credit was not very good. But the Robeson County couple wanted to rent and then buy a house. And that's why they answered an ad in a newspaper placed by CMR Properties, a Fayetteville home-loan dealer.

But what started as a dream turned into a financial disaster, the couple said. And now, investigators with the N.C. Attorney's General Office have accused CMR Properties, which also operates Home Town Financial of Fayetteville, of scamming people with bad credit.

A judge ordered CMR Properties this weekend to stop closing on loans, pending a hearing on Monday.

"All that money down the drain," Cory Callender said.

The Callenders said CMR Properties sold them a loan promising monthly payments under $800 and eventual ownership of the house. They said CMR Properties told them all they had to do was get a friend to sponsor them by putting the friend's name and better credit on the loan for a year. After a year, the loan would be the Callenders.

"That's what we thought they were doing," Cory Callender said. "That wasn't the case. After we moved into the house, we didn't get any paperwork."

Instead, the Callenders' friend got all of the paperwork, including the deed to the house. Their mortgage payments also exceeded $1,000, they said.

"They said, 'Oh don't worry about that. That's a mistake. Your name was supposed to be on the deed.'" Cory Callender said. "That didn't happen. Up to this date, our names are still not on the deed."

CMR officials referred WRAL to their lawyer's office, which was closed Saturday.

The Chief Financial Officer of CMR Properties previously sent a letter to the Attorney General's Office in response to the Callenders' complaints.

In the letter, the Chief Financial Officer stated: "As far as the accusation of us defrauding them, that is just impossible."

The Attorney General's Office said it was not only possible, it happened.

The office wants to cancel all of CMR Properties' and Home Town Financial of Fayetteville's contracts and process refunds for customers. They suspect the scam also involves false appraisals, forged inspections and victims in Robeson, Moore and Cumberland counties.

Cory Callender said he just wants his name on the deed to his house.

"It's like the old cliché: 'If it's too good to be true, it usually is,'" he said. "That's the case here."