Refinancing scams cost victims dearly

Author: Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 18 2013 12:23:12 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 21 2013 09:20:00 AM EST

If you're looking to refinance, beware of the con-men out there who will try to steal your money.

"I started getting the funny feeling that something just wasn't right," said one victim of a refinancing scam, who doesn't want to reveal her identity.

Her instinct was right. The small business owner and her husband needed to refinance their business, but their bank turned them down.

"Our mortgage company gave us his information and he said he was basically capable of getting anything done that none of the other lenders would be able to do," she explained.

The "he" she is referring to is Charles Grove, who operated a company called CG Financial.

"He would ask them for an upfront advance fee," said US Postal Inspector Michael Egner. "They come up with this money and in some cases they have to borrow the money for the advance fee from friends, relatives or whatever because they are deathly afraid of losing their business."

Hope quickly turned to disappointment.

"Whenever we were supposed to meet or discuss the details, something would come up. His mom would be in the hospital or he had to travel for another client," the victim said.

"These people are skilled at putting people off," warned Egner. "That is part of the game."

Grove, who faces up to 25 years in prison, is accused of duping 32 victims out of more than $350,000. Victims say they were crushed.

"For the safety of my children and our credit history and worrying that our credit was compromised for the future… anything… not know basically the unknown of figuring out how far he went with our information," said the victim.

"It is an unscrupulous thing to do, that people who target people who are already in trouble and take them for the last money that they have, that is about the most heartless thing you can do," added Egner.

Egner say consumers trying to refinance should ask for references and you should ask many questions,  "Did you get your loan? Were you able to get it back? What was the finance? What was the interest? Was this the kind of guy who used his own money?"

"Finding out that it was a scam the whole time that was the most hurtful. So many people try to promise you things but you can't trust them," said the victim.

If you're looking to refinance your mortgage, the Better Business Bureau has steps to take to avoid the scams that are out there: