5 People Charged With Robbing And Torturing Mortgage Modification Agents

KTLA says that five people have been charged with torture, robbery and false imprisonment after luring two loan modification agents to a location and then holding them for hours, beating and robbing them before one escaped.

Prosecutors say Daniel Weston and Mary Ann Parmelee hired two loan modification agents in hopes of keeping their home but believed the men took their money and did nothing.

Each of the alleged torturers are being held on about $1 million bail each.

5 Charged With Torturing Home Loan Agents [KTLA via Fark]
(Photo:austrini)

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  1. FatLynn says:

    Is that illegal?

  2. valleyval says:

    What is WRONG with people? Seriously. We lost our home so let’s torture some people?

    • justsomeotherguy says:

      @valleyval: These people were involved in fraud that resulted in a threat to the welfare of others. While I do not condone this I fully understand why someone would torture and murder anyone remotely involved in the fraud. Unfortunately now they will have to be punished for what they have done.

      • mythago says:

        @justsomeotherguy: You fully understand that anyone who thinks they got poor service would want to torture and rob the representative involved? I hope you don’t work in any customer-service positions.

        • katstermonster says:

          @mythago: And even if they didn’t…I don’t even own a house on which to forclose, but I imagine that would be a horrible situation. I’d want to torture SOMEONE.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        @justsomeotherguy: I’m sorry, but that has to be one of the most sickening statements. If these men defrauded someone, you report it to the police and let them go at them. YOU DO NOT KIDNAP AND TORTURE.

        Does that mean the CEO of some company can break down the door of a couple that is defrauding their state’s welfare agency and beat them up? Or is it only “understandable” when its backed with the populist “rage” de jour?

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @TuxthePenguin: Well, what’s more is that there was no information as to whether the loan modification agents actually were frauds. The people believed they were.

          • PermanentStar says:

            @pecan 3.14159265: My thought at that statement exactly!

            When I read the article it said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that the attorney said his clients were innocent and the loan modification agents were frauds – however, the article clearly stated that the accused BELIEVED that they had done nothing…regardless, torturing somebody b/c you believe they defrauded you isn’t exactly legal…or morally/ethically sound.

        • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

          @TuxthePenguin: It’s a sign of the times. It symbolizes the acknowledgment of a breakdown in the system. Obviously they didn’t believe that justice would be served and their homes saved otherwise their solution would have been to go to the authorities. The more people hear “I’m sorry you’re screwed but there’s nothing the government can do, even though we are supposed to make and enforce laws.” the more things like this will occur.

          Is it disgusting? Yes. That does not invalidate justsomeotherguy’s statement though. More people everyday understand how something like this could happen.

        • Karita says:

          @TuxthePenguin: I really do understand the motivation of the people that did it. I can’t empathize, but I work daily with people facing foreclosure and trying to deal with banks, law firms and other parties. I see what they are going through every day. And even as a neutral third party, I am filled with burning hatred many times when trying to navigate the system for my clients. It causes an unbelievable amount of pressure, and, when someone with an unstable personality goes through it, it’s bound to happen. Do I condone it? No, of course not. But it’s not surprising. In fact, I’m surprised we haven’t had more violence. People are facing the loss of their past and present, and can’t see any hope for the future. A lot of people did nothing to get themselves in a bad situation aside from being laid off. It’s a catalyst. It’s nothing like getting mad at a waitress because you got the wrong drink, or a salesperson because they were chatting instead of helping you.

          This has very little to do with populist rage, and it certainly doesn’t lead to some slippery slope of ridiculousness. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone – particularly when already-vulnerable people are being taken advantage of by scam artists. I wouldn’t count on a successful defense, but I’m sure the pressure exacerbated someone with pre-existing, though perhaps not apparent, mental issues.

          • mythago says:

            @Karita: Or it may have exacerbated someone with greed and entitlement issues. This was a group of up to five people, not a single unstable individual, who also robbed their victims. I understand what you’re saying but I also believe it’s a mistake to assume that, just because their defense attorney said so, these were well-meaning, innocent folks who were overreacting to being defrauded.

    • katstermonster says:

      @valleyval: There has been a rash of mortage modification scams in the recession, so the agents may very well have taken their money and done nothing.

      I am in NO WAY saying that torturing is okay. Kidnapping/torturing only works in James Bond movies, plus it’s illegal and wrong. But I would daydream about it if I had been scammed and lost my house as a result! :)

    • varro says:

      @valleyval: Two wrongs don’t make a right, but “mortgage modification agents” often take the money and run.

      The kidnappers should be prosecuted, and then the modifiers should be investigated to see if they aren’t committing fraud themselves.

    • Triesharder says:

      @valleyval: People who know that there are no laws, act lawlessly. These people found out there are laws after all, just not for everyone.

  3. pythonkid says:

    By torturers, they mean the loan modification agents, right?

  4. Anachronism says:

    Wow, considering I work as a mortgage fraud investigator, I’m really torn here.

    I mean, assuming the complaint is legit, they obviously did something illegal by kidnapping and torturing the scammers.

    But jaywalking is illegal too, and it is pretty hard for me to get much more worked up about the victims plight here than the “victims” of a jaywalking incident.

    • mythago says:

      @Anachronism: There is no “complaint”. Post-arrest, the perps are claiming that the loan modification agents a) failed to save their homes and b) therefore are frauds.

  5. angryneo says:

    Turnabout is fairplay…

  6. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Seriously, I understand their frustration, but what gives them the right to try and KILL people. NOTHING gives you the right to take the life of another person, unless perhaps they have killed someone themselves – even then it should be handled through some sort of judiciary system (retribution-based killing chains = fail. See Israel v. Palestine for more info). Especially if its something as trivial as money. What the fuck is this world coming to?

  7. justsomeotherguy says:

    As a fan of entropy this makes me smile. I hope this is just the start of a trend that will make good fodder for my daily internet news addiction.

  8. mythago says:

    I am amazed (no, not really) at how many people just assume that because the defense attorney says the loan-modification agents were “frauds”, they were. It hasn’t occurred to anyone that people who would torture and rob somebody might be, oh, I don’t know, a little shady themselves?

    • PsiCop says:

      @mythago: Yeah. That’s a big question mark in my book. No evidence has been offered that the loan-mod agents were, themselves, crooked. And you’re very right that defense attorneys are not credible sources of information … this claim needs independent confirmation.

      • mythago says:

        @PsiCop: I don’t really blame the defense attorney; it’s his job to say stuff like that. But clearly we’re not deal with the Upstanding Citizen family.

  9. iMike says:

    Please add “street justice” tag.

  10. Graymalkin56 says:

    New fee for mortgage companies: $1000 “security fee” for any visits to a customer’s home.

  11. oldtaku says:

    Well you know, if they really were modification scammers and the torture was just tying and beating them up then I’m not feeling too bad about this. Prosecute the five, sure, because you can’t officially condone this, but since the cops can’t do anything about the huge number of loan modification scammers running around a few more stories like this could be useful.

  12. Schildkrote says:

    I realize it’s the Internet and you shed a little bit of your humanity when you start posting comments, but come on, saying that the torturers had any right or justification whatsoever to do what they did is ridiculous.

    We live in a civilized society. You just don’t kidnap, torture or kill people. Period.

  13. sp00nix says:

    Companies and individuals them selves need to fear for reproductions of their own actions. In other countries where you lose a hand when you steal, one is more likley to think about doing some one over. I’m not condoning this action, but if it happens more it may cause some entities and there people to straiten out and fly right. When people get greedy and harm others and pretty much get away with it some one will try and take care of it them selves.

    • mythago says:

      @OMG! SP00N: Yes, you’re condoning this action. And if it happens more it will just cause loan-modification agents to start wearing guns.

      In those countries where you can lose a hand when you steal, nobody steals, right? Right?

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @OMG! SP00N: Oh yes, and we make a regular practice of cutting people’s hands off in America, don’t we. Come the fuck on.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      @OMG! SP00N: “I’m not condoning his action, but…” and then followed by “When people get greedy and harm others and pretty much get away with it some one will try and take care of it them selves.”

      Guess what, you just condoned it. Does that mean that if I feel that the bodyshop that is repairing my car is overcharging me, I can blow up the shop? Or what if I feel the “homeless man” panhandling on the corner is a fraud… can I beat him with a golf club?

      If instead of “mortgage modifiers” this had been… their boss who had “promised no lay offs” but then had, would you still feel the same way? The first rule before you go rush to judgment is to swap out the actors with their polar opposites – are you still okay with that? Would you be okay with the CEOs of the health insurance companies beating up those who defraud welfare systems (two “single” people living together, both claiming welfare)?

    • FrugalFreak says:

      @OMG! SP00N:

      AMEN!

  14. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    C’mon… These loan modification people were simply praying on the weak and stupid. If that’s wrong, then dammit, I don’t want to ever be right.

  15. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    The red flag for everyone should be that the five people “believed” they were being defrauded. There hasn’t been any evidence.

    I found this article, which has more information. [www.pasadenastarnews.com]

    According to the prosecution, two of the five people “asked for their money back after concluding the victims were not doing enough to help them.”

    Despite the he said/she said of the defense and prosecution, there is no evidence shown to suggest that the loan modification agents were defrauding anyone.

    Apologies if this gets double posted – I thought it ate my post.

  16. BeyondtheTech says:

    I don’t condone it, but I think this is going to be the start of a trend with the tailspin of the economy.

    Rich yuppie CEO “Preston” or Wall Street trader “Wyatt” will be mobbed and attacked by a group of destitute individuals, just as he’s loading his Neiman Marcus bags into his luxury SUV.

    It’s going to be a battle between the have’s and the have-not’s. A clash of the classes. They’re going to go after the people who swindled them, then they’re going to after the people who they just don’t feel like they deserve their “good” fortune.

    I’m not the least bit surprised, and I probably won’t be when I hear more news like this.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @BeyondtheTech: I think this started when idiots who lost their homes destroyed their homes and vandalized them because they were upset and bitter that they lost their home.

      Now it’s just escalating so that people are trying to destroy other people instead of walls.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: I’ve never understood that, but it didn’t start just with the homes.

        I mean think of all the “If I can’t have her, no one will” murder stories, and other things like that.

        Humans are selfish by nature, I guess.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @Oranges w/ Cheese wants it to be winter already: When it comes to things like the market, people who feel an intense frustration hit a tipping point. There’s a difference between the people who are upset and move on, or do some research into counseling, and the people who can’t control their anger and seek to hurt others, or seek a violent outlet to their anger.

          I’ve read many cases about the jilted lover stories, and it seems to me that it all boils down to one simple difference: you control your anger or you let anger control you.

          Workplace violence comes to mind. A few years ago, I got to work one day, and couldn’t get into my building. I called a co-worker of mine who was already inside, and when I got into the building, I found out that someone in another department had been fired. After the person was escorted out, all of the outside doors were locked, the elevators were locked down, and the combination codes to the office doors were changed. All of this set us on edge the entire rest of the week. There’s a reason why we do this now: We’ve seen too many cases of people who just can’t take it anymore and find someone to take it out on.

          • mythago says:

            @pecan 3.14159265: The jilted-lover stories are not just about anger – they’re about entitlement and possession. “That bitch dumped me” is way different from “How dare that bitch think she can dump me.”

          • JollyJumjuck says:

            @pecan 3.14159265: Seems like an oversimplification.

            Some scammer takes everything I have worked hard for over the years and gets away with it. Police can’t find him. So I guess I’m not allowed to be angry?

            There is a difference between “shit happens” and “someone goes out of their way to hurt me.” The criminal wrecks a victim’s life (e.g. identity theft) and there isn’t enough evidence to convict the thief, but the victim must spend years trying to fix his name and reputation.

            By the way, I hate your alias. ;) Winter is the worst season of all, in my opinion.

          • JollyJumjuck says:

            @pecan 3.14159265: Sorry, that alias thing was meant for Oranges w/Cheese wants it to be winter already. I really shouldn’t post when I’m tired.

      • god_forbids says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: I don’t know why the phrase “lose their home” ticks me off so much (it’s not you, pecan) … Unless you have lived there for generations it is not a home it is a building, and unless you have paid off the mortgage it is not your it is the bank’s. Nothing to lose, just repo.

        Have you seen that show on HGTV “Real Estate Intervention”? Cheesy as anything but god I love seeing fool ‘homeowners’ cry when their $700k bungalo they bought at the peak of the bubble ends up being worth $400k and their little precious has to sell his BMW and quit make-up school.

        Home OWNERSHIP may be wealth but all those who chased wealth by loading up on huge ARMs + HELOCs were fooling themselves and deserve to have the buildings they occupy and the vehicles they drive repo’ed.

        • temporaryerror says:

          @god_forbids:
          Home is where you make it. You don’t need to own a house in order for it to be your home. For that matter, a apt, or even a rented house can be your home…
          You can lose your home if you get evicted or whatever.
          If what you say was true, I, along with the 60 something people that live in my apt. complex would all be considered homeless. For that matter, the people that moved in next to my parents last year are most likely homeless…

          • god_forbids says:

            @temporaryerror: I see your point but I think you mean home in the sense of where you set your GPS to. I am talking about the intense emotional attachment people seem to make with the collateral of their mortgage, as it were anything other than an alternative to renting.

            I get it if your kids were raised in a house or something but the rage about “losing their homes” almost always refers to the people who *just* signed (with a bank’s money) months before foreclosure. That’s not the same thing as someone ripping you out of something you own.

            They do not own it. It is not “home”. Therefore not “their home.”

    • mazzic1083 says:

      @BeyondtheTech: Karl Marx, is that you spouting from beyond the grave? Class conflict for the win

  17. oneliketadow says:

    They should have just water-boarded the hostages, as we know, that is not torture.

  18. wvFrugan says:

    Sounds like someone finally figured out a guilt free way to produce snuff films.

  19. Firethorn says:

    I find it interesting that they ‘hired’ the loan modification agents, that said agents were visiting them at their home, etc…

    I thought loan modification agents worked for the loan originators/banks and their primary interest in loan modification is to save/lose as little money as possible by rewriting the terms such that the borrowers hopefully don’t default.

  20. flugennock says:

    Hot damn, now we’re getting somewhere.

    Seriously, these folks locked up a couple of sleazy predatory bastards and knocked the fertilizer out of them, and they were arrested? Hell, they oughta’ get a frickin’ medal. I mean, c’mon; if George Bush and that bunch are going free after abusing and torturing people in Iraq and Gitmo, why the hell should foreclosed homeowners have to go to jail for beating and torturing bankers?

    I think this needs to happen more. The only way we’re going to turn this situation around is if we have more and more people in this country who are willing to fight back like Palestinians and Iraqis, i.e., like they’ve got nothing to lose…because it should be obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together that the court system isn’t going to do the job that needs to be done — which would be locking up every goddamn’ CEO in this country in a real honest-to-Dog, ass-raping penitentiary.

    But since the courts are letting these scum walk, the job of punishing them should be done by the people. We need to see mobs of pissed-off foreclosed homeowners and unemployed people heading downtown and getting all Black Bloc on the bank and stockbrokers’ offices — I mean, as long as we’ve got the tenth anniversary of the Seattle/WTO Rebellion coming up.