Holly Woman Sentenced for Phony Foreclosure Rescue Operation
Attorney General Bill Schuette announced his Corporate Oversight Division has secured a prison sentence for a Holly woman who ran a fraudulent foreclosure-rescue operation that scammed at least 60 victims across the state out of more than $250,000.
Tashia Winstanley, 38, of Holly, has been sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $243,474 in restitution by Judge Thomas J. Phillips in Grand Traverse County’s 13th Circuit Court. Winstanley and her company, TLW Mortgage Solutions, each pleaded guilty on August 3, 2012 to three felonies for collecting upfront fees while impersonating a mortgage modification company.
“Foreclosure rescue scam artists attack Michigan homeowners who are struggling financially and fighting to stay in their homes,” said Schuette. “Anyone who exploits struggling homeowners through these scams will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The criminal charges resulted from an investigation by the Attorney General after complaints against the company were filed with Attorney General Schuette’s Consumer Protection Division. The investigation revealed that from September 2009 through January 2012 Winstanley operated TLW Mortgage Solutions as a mortgage modification business.
Winstanley offered prospective clients mortgage loan modifications for a fee. Winstanley promised victims she would secure a mortgage loan modification for them. Some victims even made their mortgage payments directly to Winstanley instead of their lenders, but instead of remitting those payments to the banks, Winstanley pocketed the funds in order to feed self-proclaimed shopping and drug addiction. The Attorney General Investigation uncovered evidence that Winstanley made no efforts to secure loan modifications for many of the victims.
Affected victims reside in the following counties: Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Kalkaska, Roscommon, Oakland, Genesee, Benzie and Macomb.
Winstanley and her company, TLW Mortgage Solutions both plead guilty in Grand Traverse County’s 13th Circuit Court to the following:
- One count of Conducting Criminal Enterprises (Racketeering), a felony punishable by up to twenty years in prison;
- One count of False Pretenses – More than $20,000, a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison; and
- One count of False Pretenses - $1,000-$20,000, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or three times the value of money or property involved.
Winstanley is currently incarcerated in Huron Valley Women’s Correctional Facility serving time for previous convictions for Larceny by Conversion - $1,000-$20,000 charged in Leelanau and Kalkaska counties.
Citizens who believe they may have been victims of Winstanley or TLW Mortgage Solutions are encouraged to file complaints with the Attorney General’s Office at www.michigan.gov/ag by clicking “File a Complaint.”
Schuette reminds Michigan homeowners that citizens do not need to pay to speak with their lender or servicer or to obtain outside assistance with foreclosure issues. Free local assistance with foreclosure issues can be found by calling the Michigan State Housing Development Authority at (866) 946-7432.
“I encourage homeowners with foreclosure concerns to contact free, state-certified housing counselors,” said Schuette. “You do not have to pay for assistance or to speak with your lender.”