Report: #160666

Complaint Review: Centex Home Equity

  • Submitted: Thu, October 13, 2005
  • Updated: Sat, October 15, 2005
  • Reported By: UNion City Pennsylvania
  • Centex Home Equity
    350 Highland Drive,
    Lewisville, Texas


*Author of original report: Centex - And whose money are they using to do this?

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Hello Everyone~
I have read all of your complaints diligently. I simply wanted to respond by letting all of you know that I, too, am a victim of Centex Home Equity. At the present time I am not able to give details of my current situation, but I can assure you that I have been on the receiving end of what all of you are experiencing with this most unscrupulous company. I, too, know how they intimidate, manipulate and "terrorize" you with their threats and their "legal documents" that they have structured totally for their benefit. I also know how it feels to find out that you have been "conned" and "induced" into something that you were not aware of and to feel that you are so all alone and have no where to turn.

I will tell you that, for the most part, this company knows who to "target" and they also know that they don't have to abide by the consumer protection laws as long as they can continue to get away with it. And all of us who continue to permit them to "walk all over us" are no better than Centex if we do not start fighting back. I know it is hard and I know you are scared, but the Lord helps those who help themselves.

Centex knows how to manipulate you. They know a lot about you. They make it a point to find out everything they can about you. What they don't know about you, they will fabricate in order to disparage your character with your employers, your friends, your neighbors and the judicial system. In fact, one of their "agents" is probably reading this post this very moment so he/she can report back to his/her "boss" as to how to stop me. You would be surprised. As soon as they know you are "down on your luck" that is when they "come in the back door" and start their foreclosure stampede and accelerate a bogus default balance, among other schemes they employ. You cannot sit there and think that they will "work with you" and "will help you" and/or that anyone else can help you. You have to stand up and fight them! The only way to fight them is through our regulatory agencies. Centex doesn't think we are smart enough to stand up for what is right. They "assume" that we are dumb because they "trapped" us into their web of deceit.

I know that our regulatory agencies seem to "duck their heads in the sand", but that is because not enough people are STICKING TOGETHER and filing complaints against Centex. YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, HUD, THE DOJ, BUREAU OF CONSUMER PROTECTION and ANY OTHER AGENCY you can find! IT IS A MUST! These agencies will not listen to "just a few" is going to take ALL OF US to get their attention. If enough of us file complaints with the appropriate regulatory agencies, Centex will then be investigated and I am sure exposed for their predatory and fraudulent activities. If we all just sit here and do nothing but complain to each other it is not going to do any good. We need to start standing up for what is right. We need to get the message out there to our government and consumer protection agencies that this is going on! It is the only way and if everyone on this forum filed a complaint, I am sure it would not be very long before these agencies paid by our tax $ would have to do something and they would simply have to start investigating into what is going on with this company. Contact your local representatives, your senators, everyone you can think of...start moving it along...

You can employ an attorney and go through the judicial system, of course, but civil litigation is so complex and we all know how some of the attorneys in the legal system enjoy "splitting hairs" and try to interpret a law to mean one thing when it means the exact opposite! The litigation process is strenuous, time-consuming, expensive and complex. Centex enjoys dragging it out as well! The only way the legal system can bring Centex down is with the help of our regulatory agencies and our regulatory agencies are not going to do anything until ALL of us start filing our complaints. It is the only way they are going to sit up and take notice and do their job to protect us. WE ALL NEED to let them know what is going on. They cannot help us if we do not tell them what is going on! I don't know about all of you, but I don't believe any of us have anything to lose by doing this. I'm not one that will go down without a fight, especially when Centex is doing all possible to destroy me, ruin me, and every aspect of my life by trying to take my home (which is my life!) away from me! I would say if it is worth complaining about, it is worth fighting for and we all NEED TO TAKE A STAND or we can simply sit here and let Centex continue walking all over us, calling us stupid, uneducated, ignorant, and whatever else they want because they were able to "deceive" us into their scam in the first place! It is bad enough when they take all of your money that they repeatedly demand from you and strip your bank account so you can save your home, but it is even worse if we sit here and let them take our homes away from us as well! That is their goal because they can make more money on foreclosure than by letting you stay in your home while they continue to con you into giving them all of your income, savings, and bilk your bank accounts clean so you have nothing left! Once they clean out your wallet, then they go after your house! It might take them a few years to do it, but they eventually do it with the servicing schemes they also employ on you during the term of the loan agreement they structured for you and for their benefit! After they're sure they have cleaned out your wallet, then they go for your house because they think you're stupid enough by that time to believe they are right and you are wrong because they want you to believe that you must be wrong because you have no money left because they took it all! They know you're broke and desperate and they use that against you, believe me!

I have spent an insurmountable number of hours doing research on how lenders like Centex operate and I have so many issues with them - too many to disclose here, but I can assure you that the one thing that I have found is that it is only going to be possible to stop Centex if everyone who has been violated files complaints against them. It is the only way! Otherwise, we're all sitting ducks. Don't think that Centex is going to "turn over a new leaf" and work with you because that is just not going to happen! They set you up to fail from the beginning! They are "experts" in their "field" and they will not be forthright with you. It is even best not to have a verbal conversation with them. Get them to reduce everything to writing and if they won't, you reduce any conversation you have with them to writing and keep a paper trail so they know you are doing so! Speaking with them on the phone will only frustrate you all the more and they can and will deny what they tell you. They have a habit of developing amnesia as well when you confirm something they "suddenly" decide to change on you! They have many Vice Presidents in each department who are always "out to lunch"...

I would also add that you need to have your loan documents reviewed by an attorney if at all possible and you need to educate yourself with the consumer protection laws and understand what you were supposed to have been provided, what you were not provided and any other rules and regulations that Centex failed to follow. A good consumer protection attorney familiar with real estate procedures and criminal activities can be very helpful! You will be surprised I am sure at what you find out! Once you realize how you have been tricked you will understand all the more why I believe that the BEST and ONLY way to reduce Centex and stop their nonsense is to start filing complaints. You can find all sorts of information at other forums and websites regarding predatory lending and mortgage fraud and places with addresses where you will be able to file your complaints.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of filing complaints and standing up for yourself against these mobsters!

Erie, Pennsylvania

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#1 Author of original report

Centex - And whose money are they using to do this?

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

BCSC target Pacific International in new Mafia indictment
Canada StockWatch
by Brent Mudry
February 6, 2003

In the latest case of U.S. authorities chasing Mafia-linked clients of Canadian brokerages, an associate of New York's Colombo organized crime family and nine others have been charged with securities fraud and money laundering in four penny stock pump-and-dump promotions through greased brokers. Eight targets were arrested in predawn raids Thursday by the agents of the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in New York and Miami, while one was already in custody and another is at large.

The United States Department of Justice claims the ring rigged four Nasdaq promotions: Healthwatch Inc., Scottsdale Cigar Co. Inc., Clinical Aesthetics Centre Inc. and Metro Global Media Inc.
In a superseding indictment unsealed Thursday in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, authorities claim the alleged fraudsters, several of whom are well known to Canadian regulators, used offshore accounts at Mark Valentine's now defunct Bay Street brokerage Thomson Kernaghan and Pacific International Securities, a controversial Howe Street brokerage now in the midst of a landmark Canadian regulatory prosecution. Pacific International spokesman and compliance director, Richard Thomas, who was unaware of the Rizzo indictment until provided it by Stockwatch, declined immediate comment, citing the current BCSC proceeding.

This latest indictment traces out the alleged co-conspirators of Francesco (Frank) Rizzo, detained without bail since his Dec. 16 arrest on a criminal complaint identifying him as an associate of the Colombo La Cosa Nostra, or LCN, family. Mr. Rizzo, 43, of Glen Cove, N.Y., was arraigned on Jan. 31 on an earlier securities fraud indictment in this case.

The nine new defendants include repeat securities violators Angel Luis Lorie, 60, of Miami, and Gerard Burns, 54, of Scottsdale, Ariz., previously identified by the British Columbia Securities Commission as star bad-boy clients of Pacific International, Russian national Eugene Slusker, Glen Vincent Benussi, and five brokers at Centex Securities, a now-defunct U.S. brokerage fond of Vancouver deals: Douglas Alfieri, Louis Caesar Ceparano, David Brian Miller, Frank Matthew Savasta and Peter Jason Worrell.

In the arrest operation, Messrs. Burns, Alfieri, 38, of East Rockaway, N.Y., Ceparano, 38, of Melville, N.Y., Miller, 30, of New York, and Worrell, 30, of Syosset, N.Y., were arrested in New York and set for arraignment Thursday afternoon by U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, N.Y. Mr. Lorie, Mr. Benussi, 39, of Wellington, Fla., and Mr. Savasta, 33, of Lantana, Fla., were arrested at their homes in Florida, and set for initial arraignment in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida before being shipped off to New York. FBI agents are seeking Mr. Slusker, alias Gene Shuskar, 36, a Russian national last known to be in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The arrests are the latest career achievements for Pacific International clients Ms. Lorie and Mr. Burns, alias Gerald Burns, prosecuted together by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in 1997 for flogging $2.7-million worth of worthless stock to Spanish investors. (Mr. Burns has also used other aliases, including Leonard Thoubburon and Gerard Thoubburon.)

The Rizzo ring was gearing up around the time the SEC targeted Mr. Burns and Ms. Lorie in for flogging worthless stocks to Spanish victims. On Sept. 30, 1997, Ms. Lorie Burns and Diversified Capital Resources Inc., a Miami-based investment banking company she headed and controlled, were barred by a federal judge in Florida from "recklessly offering or selling securities" and from acting as unregistered broker-dealers.
The same day, the SEC barred Ms. Lorie from participating not just in any penny stock offering, but also from the securities industry in general. The lifetime ban included acting as a promoter, finder, consultant, or other person who engages in actions with a broker, dealer or issuer for purposes of the issuance or trading in any penny stock, or inducing or attempting to induce the purchase or sale of any penny stock.
The SEC complaint, filed Sept. 29, 1997, claimed Mr. Burns and Ms. Lorie sold $2.7-million worth of share of VDS Enterprises Inc., based on false financials filed with the regulator. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) The victims were told that VDS had acquired a garbage business in Venezuela, its anticipated annual revenues of $45-million to $50-million, it had assets of $16.43-million, shareholders' equity of $14.75-million and service contracts for $100-million, none of which was true. In October, 1998, Mr. Burns was barred from acting as an officer of director of a public company, fined $100,000 and ordered to pay disgorgement of $2.7-million.

Ms. Lorie did not keep her nose clean for long. The SEC targeted her again in August, 2001, when it filed an action charging her, American Healthcare Providers Inc., her son and three others in an Internet market manipulation scheme. The SEC claims the group made at least $1.47-million in illicit profits by pumping American Healthcare stock through bogus press releases and Internet chat site postings. The stock endured a 10-day SEC suspension in June, 2000, after the company falsely announced a major contract with a New York health program.

Mr. Burns is no stranger to handcuffs. He went to prison in May, 1988, on fraud charges stemming from the sale of unregistered securities, and was released in December, 1991. More recently, he and partner David Rowe were the key figures in the Cambridge International Bank and Trust debacle, an offshoot of Van Brink's First International Bank of Grenada prime bank scheme.

Mr. Burns and Mr. Rowe, investigated by the BCSC, the FBI, the SEC and numerous state securities regulators, were arrested in March, 2001, in the Cambridge case, a prosecution led by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California. The Cambridge indictment claims Mr. Burns and Mr. Rowe raised at least $30-million from more than 300 investors in the U.S. and Canada., and the scheme involved accounts at Vancouver brokerage Union Securities, First Heritage Savings Credit Union, in the Vancouver suburb of Langley, and Lines Overseas Management Ltd. in Bermuda.

In the latest unflattering revelations about Mr. Burns, the current indictment claims he and Mr. Slusker, the Russian on the loose, secretly owned portions of Centex Securities, a brokerage, based in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, Calif., recently shut down by the National Association of Securities Dealers. (Mr. Slusker also controlled a Centex account in the name of A.K. Arthur International Co.) The Rizzo ring operated out of Long Island, N.Y., branches of two dubious national brokerages, both since shut down, Centex and Jaron Equities.
The new indictment is especially embarrassing for Canadian brokerages Pacific International of Vancouver and Thomson Kernaghan of Toronto.

Pacific International is in the late stages of a lengthy precedent-setting hearing by the BCSC, which claims the brokerage had the misfortune of attracting and servicing far more than its Howe Street share of penny stock crooks, securities violators, criminals and other riff raff. The Canadian regulator launched its prosecution in July, 2001, in the wake of Stockwatch reporting numerous U.S. indictments and SEC prosecutions featuring Pacific International as an alleged stock and money laundering conduit for Mafia associates and other securities violators.

Shalom Weiss, recently extradited from Austria to Orlando, Fla., to start an 845-year prison term leads a list of 14 dubious clients noted by the BCSC in its notice of hearing, followed by Mr. Burns and Ms. Lorie. While Pacific International has not yet opened its defence at the BCSC hearing, it is expected to argue that despite allegations in FBI, SEC, U.S. Justice Department and other regulatory documents, Mr. Weiss and Mr. Burns were never clients of the brokerage.

Thomson Kernaghan was shut down last summer by the Ontario Securities Commission and the Investment Dealers Association of Canada, largely stemming from numerous dubious transactions involving its head, Mr. Valentine. In the week following the OSC action, Stockwatch unveiled many dubious penny stock deals which caught the interest of Mr. Valentine and his brokerage.

Mr. Valentine is currently under house arrest with electronic monitoring in Florida, after waiving extradition in the wake of his Aug. 14 arrest at Frankfurt's airport as a key target of Operation Bermuda Short, a two-year joint RCMP-FBI undercover sting targeting 60 North American penny stock players for agreeing to bribe a mutual fund manager or to launder funds for a Colombian cocaine cartel. While legendary shorter Mr. Valentine and his Bermuda-based offshore front Paul Lemmon inspired the name Bermuda Short, Mr. Lemmon has since pled guilty and agreed to rat on Mr. Valentine.

The current indictment claims the Rizzo ring conspired to commit securities fraud through dealings at Jaron and Centex in New York, and from additional locations in the Miami area, and conspired to launder more than $2.6-million of their illicit profits, between March, 1997, and May, 1998. Messrs. Rizzo, Benussi, Burns, Slusker and Lorie alleged gained control of large blocks of free-trading shares of Healthwatch, Scottsdale, Clinical Aesthetics and Metro Global, with the assistance of the indicted Centex brokers and unindicted unidentified Jaron brokers.

"The defendants used bank and brokerage accounts in the United States, Canada and the Channel Islands of Guernsey in the United Kingdom to launder approximately $2.6-million in proceeds from the fraudulent sales of these stocks," states the U.S. Justice Department.

The targeted penny stocks performed quite well under the magic spell of the Rizzo ring, under the plug was pulled. Scottsdale Cigar shares peaked at $5.37 in December, 1997, then plummeted to 44 cents by March, 1998. Shares of Clinical Aesthetics peaked at $10 in November, 1997, before falling to 50 cents by the following March. Metro Global shares doubled to $4 in January, 1998, then abruptly fell to $2.50.

Alas, these stocks were hardly blue chip material and required hefty 30-per-cent kickbacks to interest the Centex brokers.

The indictment notes that Ms. Lorie, operating out of an office in Miami, used nominees to open foreign brokerage accounts. These included accounts in the names of VISP SA and Southcross Ltd. at both Thomson Kernaghan in Toronto and Pacific International in Vancouver. (A Howe Street source suggests the indictment may be partially incorrect, as Pacific International never handled an account in the name of VISP SA.)

Mr. Burns allegedly controlled trading of the targeted penny stocks at Centex. "He also controlled trading of the companies' stock deposited into the 'VISP SA' and 'Southcross Ltd.' brokerage accounts established by the defendant Angel Luis Lorie at Thomson Kernaghan and Pacific International," states the indictment.

Mr. Berussi, who acquired the office space used to house a Centex branch at Valley Stream, N.Y., controlled accounts at Centex and Barclays Bank PLC in the name of Barson's Holdings. He allegedly used the Barclays account and an offshore account in the name of Rum Ltd. at Bank of Butterfield in Guernsey as conduits to secretly transfer the proceeds of penny stock sales at Jaron and Centex to a bank account controlled by Mr. Rizzo, the Colombo Mafia associate, in the name of Emerald Security Consultants Inc. at Chase Manhattan Bank.

"Defendants GERARD BURNS, ANGEL LUIS LORIE, GLEN VINCENT BENUSSI and EUGENE SLUSKER established domestic and foreign brokerage accounts, including the VISP SA and Southcross Ltd. accounts at Thomson Kernaghan and Pacific International, the Barsons brokerage account and the A.K. Arthur account to execute prearranged trades of stock in, among other companies, Scottsdale Cigar, MGMA (Metro Global) and CLES (Clinical Aesthetics) between these accounts, all for the purpose of artificially inflating trading volume in these stocks, generating market interest in these stocks, and fraudulently converting securities into cash by selling these stocks to members of the investing public that were led to believe that the companies had services and assets in excess of their true value," states the indictment.

The indictment also claims Mr. Rizzo, Mr. Benussi and Mr. Slusker, "together with others whose identities are known to the Grand Jury," hired brokers at Jaron and Centex, including defendants Messrs. Alfieri, Ceparano, Miller, Savasta and Worrell, to use "manipulative and deceptive practices" to artificially boost the stocks through a series of rigged trades.
"It was a further part of the conspiracy that the defendants FRANK RIZZO, GLEN VINCENT BENUSSI, GERARD BURNS, ANGEL LUIS LORIE AND EUGENE SLUSKER paid, promised to pay and caused others to secretly pay DOUGLAS ALFIERI, LOUIS CAESAR CEPARANO, DAVID BRIAN MILLER, FRANK MATTHEW SAVASTA and PETER JASON WORRELL, among other brokers, cash kickbacks and other forms of compensation substantially in excess of ordinary brokerage commissions, amounting to approximately 30 per cent of the sales they made of the Companies' stocks, to induce them to sell the Companies' stocks."

Among other things, the dirty brokers forgot to tell their sucker clients about their kickbacks, which included an $1,150 watch Mr. Savasta received. In January, 1998, Mr. Rizzo, Mr. Burns and all the other defendants except for Ms. Lorie, traveled to Las Vegas for some sort of a shindig. The indictment notes the brokers were greased with a number of the bribes on Feb. 6, 1998, and Mr. Alfieri, apparently a stickler for detail, prepared a list a week later of the outstanding kickbacks owed to him and his five fellow Centex brokers for flogging the stocks.

All defendants, of course, including Mr. Rizzo, Mr. Burns and Ms. Lorie remain presumed innocent until proven guilty. If convicted however, they face maximum sentences of five years in prison for conspiracy to commit securities fraud, 20 years for money laundering, fines of up to twice the illicit profits gained, and civil forfeiture of up to $2.6-million in real and personal property involved in the money laundering or traceable to the money laundering conspiracy.
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